TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A Taiwanese fishing vessel reportedly caught fire 1,100 km off the coast of Durban, South Africa on May 8, forcing the crew to abandon the vessel aboard emergency life rafts.
In total, sixteen crew members aboard the Taiwanese fishing vessel, the Teng Ming Yang No. 268 (振銘洋), were rescued by a nearby vessel around 9:00 a.m. (South African time).
The ship reported the fire to the South African Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) at 6:45 a.m., shortly before the crew members were forced to abandon ship, reports Times Live.
The MRCC reportedly made immediate contact with Taiwan’s Rescue Coordination Center, who were able to direct a nearby vessel to assist the Teng Ming Yang.
The Cape Argus newspaper reports that a nearby vessel, the Maersk Lanco, was originally instructed to conduct the rescue operation, but was subsequently told to stand down after it was informed that Taiwanese authorities had directed a sister vessel to rescue the fishermen.
As of May 8, 7:30 p.m. South Africa time, the vessel was reportedly still burning and sinking 1,100 km south east of Durban. The vessel is a 28 meter tuna long-liner registered in Kaohsiung.