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Search For Missing Crewmen - Update

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Three fishing vessels have continued searching overnight for 17 crewmen missing after the Korean-owned and operated No. 1 Insung sank in the Southern Ocean yesterday.

However, no further crewmen have been located, the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) says.

RCCNZ will evaluate the situation this morning and make a decision on whether the search should continue.

The No. 1 Insung is reported to have sunk at 6.30am about 1,000 nautical miles (1,850 kilometres) north of McMurdo base - or 2,700 kilometres southeast of Bluff - inside New Zealand's search and rescue region. The vessel is a 58 metre long-liner with crew from Korea, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Russia.

RCCNZ was advised of the sinking at about 1pm yesterday by the Ministry of Fisheries, which was alerted by the vessel owner's New Zealand agent.

Twenty survivors and five deceased recovered from the water are on board the fishing vessel No. 707 Hongjin. The survivors are reported to be in a comfortable condition and none requires medical treatment.

The search was scaled back yesterday afternoon and two New Zealand vessels were released from the search.

It is not known at this stage what caused the vessel to sink or why no distress communication was received prior to it sinking. Information received from the rescue vessel and the fishing company states that the ship sank very quickly, and those who were able to abandon ship did so directly into the water, not wearing lifejackets or immersion suits.

Weather conditions in the area yesterday were light westerly winds of 10 knots, with a one metre swell. The sea temperature is 2 degrees Celsius and survival times in the water are about 10 minutes without lifejackets or immersion suits.

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