Thirty rescued after trawler collision off Argentina

Pesca Vaqueiro shortly after arriving in Montevideo Image: icndiario.com Pesca Vaqueiro shortly after arriving in Montevideo

All 30 crewmembers of a Chinese-flagged fishing boat that sank following a collision were rescued by two Spanish-flagged fishing boats, including the same vessel they had collided with, off the coast of Argentina on Friday, February 15.

The collision between the trawlers Pesca Vaqueiro (pictured) and Zhong Yuan Yu 11 occurred at 02:00 local time some 334 kilometres east of Comodoro Rivadavia.

Pesca Vaqueiro sustained only minor hull damage from the impact, but the damage to Zhong Yuan Yu 11 was so severe that the Chinese vessel sank within minutes.

The crew of Zhong Yuan Yu 11 were able to send out a distress call before their vessel finally sank.

The Argentine Naval Prefecture received the call and immediately despatched a surveillance aircraft and the patrol boat PNA Doctor Manuel Mantilla to the scene. However, the distressed crew were ultimately picked up out of the water by Pesca Vaqueiro and Iván Nores, another Spanish-flagged trawler that was also in the area.

The Spanish fishermen later radioed Argentine authorities that they had rescued all 22 Chinese and eight Indonesian nationals who had crewed Zhong Yuan Yu 11 and that they were bringing them to Montevideo, Uruguay.

Pesca Vaqueiro arrived in Montevideo shortly before 23:00 local time on Monday, February 18, to disembark the rescued fishermen and to conduct a damage assessment of the hull.

Uruguayan authorities later questioned the crews of all vessels involved and notified the corresponding embassies as part of their investigation into the incident.

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