3 Nov 2005

Drifting Fiji fishermen told to wait for passing ship which didn't arrive

11:36 am on 3 November 2005

Four Fijian fishermen who spent nearly 40 days adrift before being picked up in seas north of Solomon Islands say they encountered a fishing vessel that refused to rescue them.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation reports Sanivalati Tokelau and his crew began drifting from a reef about 57 kilometres from Lautoka in mid-September.

The four were picked up in the Ontong Java sea last week.

Captain Tokelau says they'd sighted a number of ships while drifting, but only one came close to them.

The fishing vessel captain supplied the drifting crew with food and water but refused to pick them up.

Mr Tokelau said they were given a radio beacon and they were told to wait for another fishing vessel from the same company to come and get them, but it never arrived.