Taiwan Coast Guard saves crew of Hong Kong yacht near disputed Dongsha Island

Yacht suffered engine failure on its way to Philippines island of Cebu

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Dongsha Island (photo courtesy of the Construction and Planning Agency).

Dongsha Island (photo courtesy of the Construction and Planning Agency).

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Coast Guard on Friday (July 12) assisted the four passengers of a Hong Kong-registered yacht drifting around near the disputed South China Sea island of Dongsha after engine failure.

The Dongsha islands, also known as the Pratas, are controlled by Taiwan and include an airport and the Dongsha Atoll National Park.

Around noon Friday, the local division of the Coast Guard spotted a yacht drifting about 4.3 nautical miles north of the island, the Central News Agency reported. The Hong Kong-registered vessel had lost engine power, and the Coast Guard supplied food and mechanical parts to repair the engine.

Four people were on board, two men and two women from four different countries, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Argentina and Italy.

They had left Hong Kong on Thursday (July 11) at 4 p.m. and were heading for the Philippines island of Cebu, the Coast Guard said. However, at 8 p.m., an electrical problem with the generator caused them to lose power some 20 nautical miles from Dongsha.

After technicians from the Coast Guard boarded the yacht, it still took four hours to fix the problem. The Coast Guard accompanied the vessel up to a safe distance from Dongsha to see whether its engines functioned properly before returning back to base, according to CNA.