Fishing boat sinks

Early this morning, a fishing boat sank about 700km off the coast of Dunedin. 51 men were on board. 45 men in life rafts were rescued by another fishing boat nearby but three bodies were found. An air force plane searched for three more men today but did not find them. The missing men are the Korean captain and two Indonesian crew members. They are probably dead because the water is very cold – about 7 degrees.

The boat, Oyang 70, is an 82 m factory fishing boat owned by a South Korean company. The crew consisted of 8 Koreans, 26 Indonesians, 6 Filipinos and one Chinese. Although the boat was 38 years old, it had a full safety inspection last month and was in good condition. The sea was calm at the time so it is hard to understand why the boat sank.

The boat was fishing for southern blue whiting when it gave a mayday call at 4.40am this morning. Ten minutes later, it sank. Six other fishing boats were nearby and they helped to rescue the crew and to look for the missing men. The fishing boat with the Oyang crew on board will arrive in Christchurch on Friday morning.


1. The company that hired this Korean boat was a New Zealand company. Can you suggest why they used a Korean boat?
2. Why do you think there were so many Indonesian crew members?
3. When the boats are fishing for blue whiting, they usually stay at sea for about six weeks. The boat with the Oyang crew is returning to land after only a few days. Who should pay for the lost fishing time?

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