Seventeen Filipino crew members have arrived safe and sound to Montevideo, following the 11 February fire and loss of their Taiwanese flagged jigger in Falkland Islands waters last week. “Jun Rong” had a total crew of 69, and 64 were rescued and taken to the capital of Uruguay where they underwent medical attention, and are waiting to fly back to their homes.
Unfortunately, the five missing crewmembers are Filipinos, and nothing more is known about what could have happened and if they are still alive. The rest of the crew was made up of 28 Indonesian, 9 Vietnamese, 5 Burmese, four from Taiwan and one from China. A sister jigger Liang Rong brought the 64 survivors to Montevideo. The rescue operation was supported by Falklands' Fisheries Patrol vessel Protegat and the Falklands' patrol vessel HMS Clyde.
According to reports from the Falkland Islands, a distress call was first received at 8:23am on Monday 11 February from the FIC local agent. After subsequent discussions by the Marine Officer with the management company in Taiwan it is understood Taiwan received information about the fire approximately one hour earlier at 7:20am.
On receiving the initial call the Fishery Patrol vessel Protegat was immediately directed to proceed at full speed towards the vessel giving an initial ETA of 9.00pm which was later amended to 3.00pm. Other volunteer support vessels were also informed of the incident and called upon for assistance. Silver Command was established at 12.15pm once more information was received. The plan developed as further information became available however, initially the report indicated that all crew had abandoned ship and it was not until sometime later that it was informed that there were five crew men unaccounted for.
Silver Command continued to operate throughout the day and into the evening. Key to all action planning was good working relationships with the local agents as well as the vessel operator, according to a report published in the Islands' Penguin News.