Indian Navy deploys aircraft to rescue 39 crew on Chinese ship that sank; two bodies found

May 18, 2023 08:50 PM IST

China sought help from several multiple countries, including India, for the rescue operation of the capsized vessel in the Indian Ocean.

The Indian Navy on Wednesday responded to a request from the Chinese Navy and offered assistance in the ongoing search for a Chinese fishing vessel that sank in the Indian Ocean. The vessel had reportedly 39 people onboard, including 17 Chinese crew members, 17 Indonesians, and five Filipinos. China sought help from several multiple countries, including India, for the rescue operation of the capsized vessel, located in the central region of the Indian Ocean since Tuesday.

P8I aircraft carried out multiple searches despite adverse weather, the Indian Navy said.(Indian Navy/Twitter)
P8I aircraft carried out multiple searches despite adverse weather, the Indian Navy said.(Indian Navy/Twitter)

In a statement on Thursday, the Indian Navy said it deployed its “Air MR assets” in the Southern Indian Ocean Region to rescue the sinking Chinese fishing vessel.

"P8I aircraft have carried out multiple & extensive searches despite adverse weather & located multiple objects possibly belonging to the sunken vessel. As an immediate response, SAR equipment was deployed at the scene by the Indian aircraft on request of PLA(N) ships closing the area," the Indian Navy spokesperson tweeted.

“In a display of India’s obligations as a #credible & #responsible partner for ensuring #safety at sea, the #IndianNavy units also coordinated #SAR efforts with other units in the area & guided #PLA(N) warships transiting to the scene of incident," it added.

Two bodies found in Chinese vessel

On Thursday, two bodies were found in the search for the missing crew members, China's state media reported. The ongoing search operation following the capsizing of the Lu Peng Yuan Yu 028 “found and salvaged the remains of two victims”, Xinhua news agency reported.

No details were given on the nationalities of the two bodies found on Thursday.

The boat capsized within Australia's vast search-and-rescue region, Beijing's ambassador to Canberra said on Thursday, noting it was 5,000 kilometres to the west of Perth, the state capital of Western Australia.

Countries are responsible for ensuring search and rescue in determined areas of the world's oceans under an international maritime convention.

Australia has sent three aeroplanes and four ships to help in the international search-and-rescue efforts, ambassador Xiao Qian said earlier, urging Canberra to send more aircraft, ships and personnel to find the vessel.

Australian maritime identifies large area in Indian Ocean

A spokesperson for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) told Xinhua that based on drift modelling, a remote 12,000 square km zone has been identified to search for the vessel.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told the media on Wednesday that the Chinese and foreign vessels have arrived at relevant waters to conduct a search and rescue operation after the fishing vessel “Lupeng Yuanyu 028” capsized.

More help is on the way. "We will continue to work together with relevant sides to do everything possible to find those who have gone missing," he said.

The AMSA said it is also working with the China Meteorological Administration to predict the drift of the missing crew, and it is enhancing its coordination with search and rescue agencies in Australia, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

(With inputs from agencies)

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Have 11 years' experience in print and digital media. Write on politics, defence and world affairs, and have a keen eye for human-interest stories.

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