Ocean-going fishing vessel appears to have capsized – 39 crew missing

Fishing vessel Lu Peng Yuan Yu 028 (IMO 8775651), which had left Cape Town on May 3rd, is believed to have capsized in the Indian ocean, south of the Maldives, with 39 crew on board – 17 Chinese, 17 Indonesians and 5 Filipinos – all of whom are missing.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said that the search was continuing on Thursday May 18th for the crew. A distress beacon signal was received by AMSA from the fishing vessel at about 5.30am (AEST) on the morning of May 16th. Later that day bulk carrier Navios Taurus (IMO 9302762) sighted an upturned hull in the search area, along with some debris. No survivors were sighted.

AMSA requested assistance from the Australian Defence Force to help with the search; an ADF P-8A Poseidon aircraft was tasked with assisting.

A private charter aircraft from Maxem Aviation in Perth, with SES observers on board, also assisted with the search on May 17th.

A number of merchant ships and other vessels have been assisting with the search and continued to do so on Thursday.

Australia has been liaising with the Chinese Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), with three Chinese naval ships continuing the search in the area today.

The search zone will focus on a 12,000 square km area south of where the upturned hull was found on Tuesday. This area has been determined by drift modelling carried out by AMSA, informed by information supplied by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and other sources.

Weather conditions on May 16th were extreme, with the passage of Cyclone Fabian, with 120km winds and 7 metre seas. Conditions abated over the following two days, with some showers, low cloud, 30-50 km/h winds and 2-3m seas.

JRCC Australia said that it remained hopeful for a successful outcome, but the time elapsed since the capsizing, combined with the weather conditions experienced, would make survival a challenge.

Three aircraft assisted with the search on Thursday, the aforementioned Australian Defence Force P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, a private charter aircraft from Maxem Aviation in Perth, with SES observers on board, and AMSAs’ Perth-based Challenger rescue aircraft.

There were 7 vessels have been engaged in the search today, including 3 merchant ships, 1 Chinese fishing vessel and 3 Chinese navy ships. A naval ship from Sri Lanka was also on its way to the scene.

2013-built, China-flagged, 1,408 gt Lu Peng Yuan Yu 028 is owned by Penglai Jing Lu Fisheries Co of Shandong, China. It is entered with Shipowners’ Club on behalf of Penglai Jinglu Fishery Co Ltd.

2005-built, Panama-flagged, 39,738 gt Navios Taurus is owned by Kleimar NV of Antwerp, Belgium It is managed by Navios Shipmanagement Inc of Piraeus, Greece. It is entered with Gard P&I on behalf of Kleimar NV and Gard AS is claims leader for hull on behalf of Navios Shipmanagement Inc.