11 January 2012 - 12.00PM
Two of the rescued crew members from the Jeong Woo 2 are believed to have extensive burn injuries and another five have less serious burns, the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) says.
Jeong Woo 2 is a 51m Korean fishing vessel in the Ross Sea, which caught fire about 2000 nautical miles (3704 kilometres) south east of New Zealand and about 600 kilometres north of McMurdo Station.
Two other Korean fishing vessels (Jeong Woo 3 and Hong Jin 707) have evacuated crew from the Jeong Woo 2. Three crew members are still missing and are believed to have died in the fire in the vessel’s accommodation block.
The vessel was still burning and appeared to be sinking, said the RCCNZ.
The rescuing vessels say they are unable to leave their current location due to ice and fog conditions and plan to transfer the injured seamen from the Jeong Woo 3 to the US research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer, which is steaming north to meet them.
The Nathaniel B. Palmer has suitable medical facilities on board and, after medical assessment, may sail to McMurdo Base to put the injured seamen ashore for further treatment and possible evacuation to New Zealand.
A number of other vessels are also responding and have been asked to rendezvous with Jeong Woo 3 and the Hong Jin 707 to board the uninjured crew, as the two vessels are unable to proceed with the significant numbers of extra people on board.
The Jeong Woo 2 issued a distress call in the early hours of the morning (NZDT). This was picked up by Hong Jin 707 and relayed to RCCNZ by the NZ vessel Antarctic Chieftain just before 3am (NZDT).
For further information contact:
Maritime New Zealand Media Line
Phone 04 499 7318