Three crewmen from a Taiwanese jigger operating in Falkland Islands who were reported missing over the weekend have not been located. The first news of the incident was received in the early hours of Saturday February 15, when the Department of Fisheries Operations Sections notified the Royal Falkland Islands Police (RFIP).
The missing crewmen had last been seen aboard at 4.30pm Friday February 14, at a time when the vessel was approximately 18 miles from the Reporting Line (for Port William the reporting line is from Mengeary Point to Cape Pembroke).
At 7pm their absence was noticed, and a search of the vessel was undertaken. When no sign of the crewmen was found during the search, the vessel attempted to retrace its route in search of them.
At 8am on the next day the jigger arrived in Stanley harbour, where Royal Falkland Islands Police interviewed the crew, before clearing the vessel for departure that evening.
The vessel has since returned to a location 14 miles from the north-east coast of East Falkland, where it seems most likely that the crewmen left the vessel. The vessel will remain in this location for 72 hours.
Attempts to notify the next-of-kin of missing crewmen are underway, and until such time as this has been completed, no details regarding the vessel or the missing crewmen will be released to the media, it was noted in press release.
MLA Phyl Rendell, portfolio-holder for the Department of Fisheries, has expressed her regret at, the sad loss of life in our waters and extended, heart-felt sympathy to the families and friends of the missing men.
A representative from Pioneer Seafoods, vessel agents for the jigger, spoke today, Our sincere condolences are with the family and loved ones of the missing crewmen.
Crewmen 'jumping-ship' from jiggers occurs almost annually when the vessels visit Stanley in order to obtain fishing licenses. Some have survived and been returned to their ship or country of origin, depending on their preference. Others have not survived the ordeal.