JUNG WOO No.2 - IMO 8509961
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|Chris Howell on Jan 10, 2012 21:08 (1 year ago)|
Fire on Korean fishing boat in Southern Ocean
LATEST: Three sailors are missing and three injured in a fire drama on a Korean fishing boat in the Southern Ocean.
The Jung Woo 2, carrying 40 crew, has issued a mayday call from deep in the Southern Ocean, saying there is a fire aboard.
Three sailors from the are missing and three injured, and the ship had only one viable lifeboat, the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) said.
The 51 metre ship was in the Ross Sea, about 2000 nautical miles (3704 kilometres) south east of New Zealand and about 600 kilometres north of McMurdo Station.
Jung Woo 2 issued a distress call, which was picked up by another Korean fishing vessel, Hong Jin 707, and relayed to RCCNZ by the NZ vessel Antarctic Chieftain just before 3am.
RCCNZ search and rescue mission coordinator Dave Wilson said the fire had been reported as "out of control".
Of the crew, 25 were believed to be in a lifeboat and 12 remained onboard. The three injured men were among those still on board.
Wilson said five vessels were responding to the distress call, including the sister ship Jung Woo 3, which was about 35 minutes away.
Wilson said a US research vessel with hospital facilities was about 12 hours away from the Jung Woo 2's reported position, with two other vessels around 10 hours away.
Contact was also being made with the Italian and Australian Antarctic bases to investigate whether it is possible to use an aircraft to lift any injured from the Italian base at Terra Nova Bay to McMurdo Base.
The weather in the area currently is clear, with light winds, although a low is expected tomorrow.
The Jung Woo 2 was built in 1985 by Kanasashi Heavy Industries in Shizuoka, Japan, and originally named the Koryo Maru 32.
It is a 51m longliner which fishes for Patagonian Toothfish, rays and crabs in the Antarctic Ocean. It has a gross registered tonnage of 489 and can carry up to 2.749 tonnes of catch.
The ship is owned by the Sunwoo Corporation of Korea.
The mayday call is the second from a ship fishing near Antarctica in a month. Last month the 48-metre vessel Sparta, with a crew of 32 aboard, ran into trouble after hitting ice in the Ross Sea.
The ship was stuck there for 12 days while repairs were made. It received help from another fishing boat and a Royal New Zealand Air Force plane dropped supplies and a pump. The Sparta returned to Nelson yesterday.
On December 13 2010, the No 1 Insung, a 31-year-old Korean toothfish longliner with Vietnamese crew operating out of Bluff, sank in the same area with the loss of 22 men.
In February last year a Norway-flagged yacht, Berserk, sank north of Scott Base, forcing HMNZS Wellington, an off-shore patrol boat, into a lengthy and dangerous search. Three men died in that sinking.