Ship catches fire in Antarctic waters

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Ship catches fire in Antarctic waters

Three crew members of a Korean fishing boat went missing overboard and three others were injured after their ship caught fire in Antarctic waters early yesterday, rescue officials said.

The 51-meter (167-feet) vessel Jeong-woo 2, which had been fishing in the remote Ross Sea, some 3,704 kilometers (2,300 miles) southeast of New Zealand, issued a distress call at around 3 a.m. after it was engulfed in fire, according to the Rescue Coordination Center New Zealand (RCCNZ).

The distress call was picked up by two other Korean fishing boats, the Jeong-woo 3 and Hong-jin 707, which rushed to the scene and helped evacuate 37 of the ship’s 40 crew members known to be on board, the RCCNZ said.

A search for the missing sailors was under way, it added. The cause of the fire and nationalities of the rescued sailors is yet to be determined.

The fire was reported as being “out of control,” Dave Wilson, an official at the RCCNZ said, adding the weather in the area currently is clear, with light winds.

The ships that responded to the Mayday call planned to transfer the seamen who had serious burns to a United States research vessel, the Nathaniel B. Palmer, which is steaming north to collect the fishermen and take them to land, according to the organization.

The fire was believed to have started in the vessel’s accommodation block, it added. Built in 1985 and owned by Korea’s Sunwoo Corp., the Jeong-woo 2 was fishing for Chilean sea bass, rays and crabs in the Antarctic Ocean.


Yonhap

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