Australian authorities join search for missing Chinese fishers in Indian Ocean

An AMSA-operated Challenger maritime surveillance aircraft (Photo: AMSA)

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is coordinating the search for a Chinese fishing vessel in a remote location in the Indian Ocean about 5,000 kilometres northwest of Perth.

A distress beacon signal was received by AMSA from the unnamed fishing vessel at about 05:30 AEST on Tuesday, May 16.

Later in the day on Tuesday, the bulk carrier Navios Taurus sighted an upturned hull in the search area. No survivors have been found as yet.

AMSA has requested the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to provide a search asset. A Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon maritime aircraft has been tasked to assist with the long-range search along with a number of merchant vessels and other vessels in the area.

Weather conditions on Tuesday were extreme with 64-knot winds and seven-metre seas. Conditions abated on Wednesday, May 17, with 21- to 26-knot winds and two- to three-metre seas.

The search for survivors continues with merchant and fishing vessels in the area.

The RAAF aircraft will return to the search area on Wednesday after refuelling overnight, along with AMSA’s Perth-based Challenger rescue aircraft and a privately-operated aircraft from Perth. The AMSA Challenger aircraft will drop a buoy to assist with drift modelling to further assist in the search.

Baird Maritime

The best maritime site on the web. The sea's our scene!