A Chinese fishing vessel has capsized in the central Indian Ocean, state media reported Wednesday, May 17, with its crew of 17 Chinese, 17 Indonesian and five Filipino sailors missing. “So far, no missing persons have been found,” state broadcaster CCTV said, adding President Xi Jinping had ordered a search and rescue operation.
The vessel, named the Lu Peng Yuan Yu 028 and owned by Penglai Jinglu Fishery Co, capsized at about 3 am Beijing time Tuesday (1900 GMT Monday), CCTV said. Search and rescue teams from around the region have arrived on the scene and China has deployed two vessels to assist in the operation, the broadcaster reported.
Beijing’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched an “emergency mechanism for consular protection” involving embassies and consulates in Australia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Indonesia, the Philippines and other countries, according to CCTV.
Two Chinese crew members were killed last month when a Chinese dredging vessel capsized off waters in the Philippines last month. Over the past two decades, China has built the world’s largest deep-water fishing fleet. But as stocks at home deplete, Chinese fishermen have sailed further afield and become entangled in a growing number of maritime disputes and accidents.
In 2019, the Philippines accused a Chinese vessel of ramming a Philippine boat in the disputed South China Sea, causing it to sink and putting the lives of nearly a dozen crew members at risk.