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Search Underway as Chinese Fishing Vessel Capsizes in Remote Area of the Indian Ocean

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is coordinating an international search effort to locate a missing Chinese fishing vessel that is believed to have capsized in a remote area of the Indian Ocean.

The area of the search is located approximately 5,000 kilometers northwest of Perth.

The vessel, which media has identified as Lupenglaiyuanyu No 8, triggered an alarm at 5:30am AEST on Tuesday, May 16, when AMSA received a distress beacon signal.

Media reports indicate that the ship carries a crew of 39 individuals from various nationalities.

Later on Tuesday, the bulk carrier Navios Taurus reported sighting an upturned hull within the designated search area. However, no survivors have been located thus far.

AMSA has sought assistance from the Australian Defence Force (ADF), which promptly dispatched a P-8A Poseidon aircraft to enhance the search range. This aircraft was accompanied by several merchant and other ships already present in the vicinity.

The search operation was impeded on Tuesday due to severe weather conditions, with winds reaching up to 120 km/h and waves rising as high as 7 meters. Conditions improved on Wednesday, with winds reducing to between 40 and 50 km/h, and sea waves decreasing to 2-3 meters.

Despite the challenging conditions, the search operation continues with the support of numerous merchant and fishing vessels. The ADF aircraft, after an overnight refuelling, was expected to return to the search area on Wednesday, joined by AMSA’s Perth-based Challenger rescue aircraft and a privately operated aircraft.

To aid the search, the AMSA Challenger aircraft is set to drop a buoy for drift modeling.