WELLINGTON: Four fishermen were dead and 18 missing after a South Korean deep-sea trawler with 42 crew members on board sank Monday off Antarctica, Maritime New Zealand said.
“The vessel is believed to have gone down at 6:30 am local time about 1,000 nautical miles north of McMurdo (Antarctic base),” Maritime NZ spokesman Ross Henderson told AFP. “We have 20 alive, four deceased and 18 missing.”
Henderson said all vessels in the remote area had been asked to steam to the site where the ship went down to assist the search for survivors.
A Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion plane was also being sent to the area, he said.
Henderson said New Zealand authorities received no distress call before the ship sank. He did not know how the survivors were rescued.
“Whether it’s in lifeboats, whether they’ve been picked up by other vessels is unclear,” he said.
“Details are very scant at this stage.”
A coastguard spokesman in the southern South Korean port of Busan, where the ship is based, told AFP there were eight Koreans, eight Chinese, 11 Indonesians, 11 Vietnamese, three Filipinos and one Russian on board.
He identified the ship as the 614-ton Number One Insung.
Another South Korean fishing boat was involved in the rescue after reporting the accident to its home port, the spokesman said, and it also asked for help from New Zealand.