6 Jan 2009

NZ search for overboard Japanese whaler

5:50 am on 6 January 2009

A crewman on a Japanese whaling ship is presumed dead after falling from his vessel in the Southern Ocean.

The Rescue Coordination Centre in Wellington was asked by the Japanese Coastguard to coordinate a search for the man, 31. It relayed a mayday broadcast to ships in the area but the vessels in the whaling fleet that responded were too far away to find him.

New Zealand rescue officials were alerted six hours after the crewman went missing from the Kyoshin Maru Number Two. The sea temperature would have been 0 degrees Celsius, with swells of 4 metres.

The search is now officially classed as "suspended".