TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The family of a captain who went missing last week along with his crew in the middle of the Pacific has asked President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to seek additional help from the U.S. in continuing the search.
The commercial Taiwanese tuna longliner, Yong Yu Sing No. 18 (永裕興18號), was reported missing Friday (Jan. 1) by its owner, who lost contact with the captain, surnamed Li (李), on Dec. 30. Although an American rescue aircraft later located the missing vessel about 606 nautical miles northeast of Midway Atoll, there was no sign of Li or any of his nine Indonesian crewmen.
Photographs taken from the plane showed that the windows of Li's cabin had been damaged and that the lifeboat was missing. The rescue team suspected that the crew had successfully escaped after the ship was hit by large waves.
Meanwhile, the Yong Yu Sing No.18's sister ship, the Jin Qin Fu No.66 (金慶福66號), has been unable to approach the damaged vessel due to rough seas. The two ships were 123 nautical miles apart as of Wednesday (Jan. 6).
During a press conference on Thursday, Li's wife criticized the U.S. for having a passive attitude in its search. She pointed out that the U.S. assumed that the crew had safely escaped without sending a rescue team to the vessel.
She said it had been nine days since the 10-person crew was reported missing and that she and her two sons are very anxious. She urged President Tsai to negotiate with American authorities through diplomatic channels and convince them to step up the search effort, reported CNA.
The Su'ao Fishermen's Association had previously floated the possibility of the crew sheltering inside the vessel, as the lifeboat could have been destroyed by waves. Since the Yong Yu Sing No.18 is over 4,000 nautical miles from Taiwan, it would take at least 10 days for Taiwanese rescue boats to arrive in the area.
Ship captain's family urged President Tsai to negotiate with U.S. to step up search. (CNA photo)