Navy undecided on rescue operation of Chinese fishing vesselView(s):
By Kasun Warakapitiya
The Sri Lanka Navy, yesterday, was undecided whether they would take part in a rescue operation of a Chinese fishing vessel which capsized in international waters last Thursday due to the distance to the location.
The Chinese Government sought assistance from five countries including Sri Lanka after 39 crew members of the vessel were reported missing after the vessel identified as Lupeng Yuan Yu 028 capsized.
The incident had taken place in international waters around 430 nautical miles from Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Navy Spokesman, Captain Gayan Wickramasuriya said. He said they were undecided whether to provide assistance as the incident had taken place at a far off area.
He explained that the Chinese Government had made an initial request of assistance from countries nearby requesting to re-divert any vessel closer to the area to provide assistance.
“We did not have any vessel nearby when the Chinese Embassy sought assistance. However, by Saturday we had a petrol vessel deployed, but still we have not decided whether we could help. If the Chinese Embassy seeks further assistance, we can send that vessel,” he said, yesterday.
Captain Wickramasuriya said that the vessel had capsized in an area closer to Australia and therefore search and rescue missions would normally be done by them.
On Thursday, Chinese State media reported that two bodies were found in the search for missing members. However, no details were given on their nationalities. Search operations are ongoing.
Meanwhile India was continuing with search and rescue efforts. Indian Navy’s P8I aircraft undertook extensive search in the area and located the capsized fishing vessel and relayed its position to warships for further assistance.
Subsequently, P8I also sighted the fishing vessel’s life raft and guided the vessel towards it, the Indian Navy said.
Meanwhile the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is coordinating the rescue effort in international waters said the vessel was located around 5,000 km from Australia and 1,300 km south of Sri Lanka.
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