9 Nov 2011

Crew waited 24 hours before being rescued from sinking boat in Cooks waters

10:38 am on 9 November 2011

The crew onboard a fishing boat that caught fire and sank in the northern waters of the Cook Islands last week, had to wait a full day before being rescued.

The Vanuatu-registered Yuh Pao 2 is owned and operated by Yuh Yow Fisheries Ltd, a Taiwanese fishing company licensed to fish in the Cook Islands.

A fire broke out in the boat's engine room on the evening of the 27th of October, after which the crew deployed emergency flares.

The fire burnt out the ship's wiring, thereby cutting its communication lines.

The crew waited more than 24 hours before a second vessel, Yuh Yi 16 - sent by the boat's owners - arrived at the scene.

All crew were unharmed, and taken back to Pago Pago, in American Samoa.

The vessel sank at 5am on October 30.

A full incident report has been provided to the Maritime Authority of Vanuatu, and the US authorities in American Samoa, where the vessel was based.