Nine missing after fishing boat sinks near Marshalls

MAJURO (Marshall Islands) Mar 17:  A search was under way today for nine crewmen missing after monstrous waves, whipped up by Cyclone Bavi, sank a fully-laden fishing vessel near the Marshall Islands, officials said.
Wreckage from the Clear Water 02 was sighted south of Ailinglaplap Atoll yesterday, four days after the last contact with the vessel.
Eight Chinese nationals and one Marshall Islander were on board the vessel when it set sail from Majuro 11 days ago.
Neil Milne, a spokesman for the Marshall Islands Fishing Venture which operated the vessel, said seven fishing boats were searching the area and residents in the far-flung Marshall atolls have been asked to keep a look out for survivors.
“The last communication with the boat was at 2am last Thursday. By 3am, it was a blank. There was no further communication,” Milne said.
The ships’ monitoring computer system that transmits its position back to shore went dead and the on-board emergency position indicating radio beacon was not activated.
“It’s unbelievable. It was our most productive fishing boat and most experienced captain,” Milne said.
Several other longliners in the vicinity reported being hit by huge waves as Bavi developed from a tropical storm and “waves were hitting the bridge and washing over their boats,” Milne said.
Clear Water 02 had a full load of yellowfin tuna, estimated at 11 tonnes, and was heading back to Majuro to unload when it was hit by the storm.
Marshall Islands Fishing Venture is a subsidiary of Luen Thai Fishing Ventures, one of the largest fishing and seafood companies in the Asia-Pacific region. (AGENCIES)

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