Sailors Missing As Ship Burns In British Falklands Seas

Story By: John Feng, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Asia Wire Report

Video Credit: AsiaWire / Aan Hen Sueke

This is the moment a blaze rages out of control aboard a massive Taiwanese fishing vessel that was operating in British waters around the Falkland Islands as rescuers struggle to pull survivors to safety.

Five people are still reported missing after more than 60 crew members aboard the 998-tonne squid fishing rigger ‘Jun Rong’ were ordered to abandon ship and leapt into the South Atlantic 60 nautical miles north of Falklands capital Stanley on 11th February.

Survivors were picked up by sister vessel ‘Lian Rong’, with footage taken by Indonesian fishing crew Aan Hen Sueke showing the distressing scenes as Jun Rong burns up at sea.

Pictures Credit: AsiaWire / Aan Hen Sueke & AsiaWire

Jun Rong is registered in Taiwan’s south-western city of Kaohsiung.

The Falkland Islands Government said in a statement on 13th February that 64 crew members were rescued and transported to the port of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. According to Uruguayan local media, the vessel had caught fire within the fishing territory of the United Kingdom, near the Falklands.

A spokesperson told Asia Wire that there was no further information regarding five Philippine nationals who remain unaccounted for. 

Video Credit: AsiaWire / Armada Uruguay

The National Navy of Uruguay, whose coastguard escorted the survivors’ ship to port, said Jun Rong comprised 28 crew from Indonesia, 22 from the Philippines, nine from Vietnam, five from Myanmar, four from Taiwan and one from mainland China.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said it “remains hopeful” that the missing crew members would be found, and that officials are in touch with UK authorities regarding the incident.

Meanwhile, Simon Chao, head of the Marine Bureau of the Kaohsiung City Government, has said Taiwan would work with the Uruguayan government to send all crew members home.

However, at the time of writing there were still no confirmed dates for when the fishermen, including the four Taiwan nationals, would return home.

The cause of the Jun Rong fire is still being investigated, with Taiwanese reports suggesting a blaze may have broken out in its engine room.