7 Feb 2013

Search in Kiribati waters for missing fishing crew

5:00 am on 7 February 2013

A search and rescue operation is underway in Kiribati as another report of a lost fishing crew was made on Tuesday.

The fishing crew set out on Monday morning from the capital, Tarawa Atoll, and headed towards the atoll of Maiana to the south, and were due back by sunset.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand has been notified and is assisting with the mission, coordinated from Marine Search and Rescue in Tarawa.

Director of Marine Captain Ruoikabuti Tioon says aircraft are searching for the crew. He says he is trying to send a message to the public about marine safety, after repeated incidents of missing crews.

"Should they have any problems when they go and fish we know that they can be still found if they use these flares and all those things. I encourage the public to have these sorts of equipment for now, even though it's not under the law yet. But the problem is most people do not consider their lives important before they go out fishing."

Captain Ruoikabuti Tioon says there will be a review of marine laws to include safety standards for small boats.