China urges Australia to boost ship search efforts as 39 people remain missing

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China urged Australia on Thursday to send more aircraft, ships and personnel to find a fishing vessel that capsized in the Indian Ocean with 39 people aboard.

Chinese vessel the Lu Peng Yuan Yu 028 overturned in the early hours of Tuesday with 17 Chinese, 17 Indonesians and five Filipinos on board.


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“We wish that they could send more aircraft, more ships and more staff to that area,” said Xiao Qian, China’s ambassador to Australia, requesting that the Australian government coordinate with other nations closer to the capsized ship.

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

Australia had dispatched three airplanes and four ships to help in the international search and rescue efforts, the ambassador said.

China was now seeking further help in coordination with Australian defense officials, he said.

The ship capsized within Australia’s vast search and rescue region, the diplomat said, noting it was 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) to the west of Perth, state capital of Western Australia.

“To this moment, no individual has been found alive, whatsoever,” Xiao said.

Beijing has deployed two commercial vessels to the area – the Lu Peng Yuan Yu 018 and Yuan Fu Hai – to help with the operation, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Footage aired by CCTV showed mariners on board the boats carrying out the search and rescue operations.

Two other foreign merchant ships and four fishing boats were also at the scene, CCTV said.

Various Chinese government departments were working with their counterparts in Australia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives to send reinforcements to help with the rescue, CCTV reported.

“As of midday on Wednesday (0400 GMT), the missing persons and the lifeboat attached to the long liner have not been found,” CCTV said.

China’s transport ministry has also sent four tugboats to Colombo in Sri Lanka, the closest major port where rescue vessels will dock for supplies and refueling, CCTV said.

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