South Korean Fishing Boat Sinks off New Zealand, 6 Remain Missing

Published Jan 13, 2011 8:05 AM by The Maritime Executive

Rescuers halted the search for survivors from a South Korean fishing vessel that sank east of New Zealand. 45 crewmember were rescued, 6, including the ship’s master, remained missing and are assumed dead.

The ship went down in cold waters about 440 miles east of South Island.

The 45 survivors of the OYANG 70 — a mix of Korean, Indonesian and Filipino nationals — were rescued from life rafts after the ship sank early Wednesday morning.

Five of the six life rafts on the vessel were found, and maritime air surveillance found no sign of the sixth. Officials say it likely capsized with the ship.

The men had not been wearing immersion suits, which means their maximum survival time was around three hours.

Weather conditions did not seem to be a factor in the sinking of the 270-foot fishing vessel. Crew reported that they were recovering fishing gear with the nets when the boat suddenly capsized.

The Oyang 70, a 38-year-old vessel registered on the Korean Shipping Registry, is owned by Sajo Oyang Corp., a company incorporated in Korea. Since the 1980s it has been under charter to a New Zealand-based company Southern Storm (2007) Ltd.

Photo courtesy of AFP