The search for a missing fishing vessel in a remote area of ​​the Indian Ocean continues

A multinational search operation is underway in a remote part of the Indian Ocean as authorities scramble to locate the crew of the Chinese fishing vessel that is believed to have capsized.

The ship identified by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) as Lu Peng – Yuan Yuis said to have 39 crew members on board, consisting of Chinese, Indonesian and Filipino nationals.

The search area is in an extremely remote area of ​​the Indian Ocean, approximately 5,000 kilometers northwest of Perth, 1,500 kilometers south of Sri Lanka or approximately 600 kilometers east of Diego Garcia. Adverse weather conditions have increased the challenges for rescue workers.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is coordinating the extensive search operation, which was launched after the agency’s Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) in Canberra received a distress signal around 5:30am (AEST) on Tuesday morning 16 May . Since then, the joint efforts of several nations have focused on finding the missing crew.

On the same day, the bulk carrier received the distress signal Taurus ships spotted an inverted hull in the search area accompanied by scattered debris. However, no survivors were found at the initial sighting.

As the search effort entered the third day, JRCC Australia remained cautiously optimistic of a successful outcome. However, the persistent poor weather in the search area and the remoteness continued to pose a major challenge, reducing the chances of survival as more time passed without a positive result being obtained.

Australia has been actively cooperating with the Chinese Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC), and three Chinese Navy vessels continue to participate in the search alongside Australian vessels. To bolster search capabilities, three aircraft were deployed today, including an Australian Defense Forces P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, a privately chartered aircraft from Maxem Aviation in Perth equipped with SES observers and the Perth-based AMSA rescue aircraft Challenger.

Seven vessels were actively involved in the search, including three merchant vessels, a Chinese fishing vessel and three Chinese naval vessels. In addition, a naval vessel from Sri Lanka is en route to the site, further strengthening international cooperation efforts.

The search area was strategically focused on a 12,000-square-kilometer region south of where the inverted hull was first spotted Tuesday. The determination of this area was based on drift modeling performed by AMSA using data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and various other sources.

During the search, Australia has been actively collaborating with numerous countries in the Indo-Pacific region, including China, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, USA, Philippines, Indonesia and Reunion Island (France).

While the weather conditions on the day of the emergency call were extremely dangerous due to the passing of Cyclone Fabian with wind speeds of up to 120 km/h and waves of up to 7 meters, the situation improved slightly on Thursday. Rain showers with little cloud cover, wind speeds of 30 to 50 km/h and waves of 2 to 3 meters were reported in the search area early Thursday morning.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has expressed its deep gratitude to these vessels and their crews for their invaluable support and highlighted the critical role commercial shipping plays in search and rescue at sea.

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