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21 January 2005
Passenger ro/ro Estonia was not carrying explosives when it sank in 1994, as suggested by media reports, but had been used to transport military equipment in preceding weeks, a Swedish government inquiry has found. The vessel sank on 28 September 1994, en route from Tallinn to Stockholm, killing 852 people. The inquiry confirmed that military equipment had been carried on the vessel, but said today it was electronic and had no connection to weapons systems. “There is no basis for me to assume that the defence authority of the defence procurement office tried to transport defence material on board Estonia when the vessel sank,” Judge Johan Hirschfeldt, who headed the inquiry, told a news conference. He said the Swedish defence authority had only used the vessel on 14 and 20 September to transport military equipment. An official investigation into the sinking found that rough seas had torn open the bow door, allowing water to flood onto the car deck. Some have questioned the official findings, however, saying some kind of explosion might have caused the disaster. The latest inquiry was launched last year after a television report that suggested the vessel had carried defence hardware, possibly including explosives.
20 January 2005
Pioneer Naya (South Korea)
A South Korean maritime police vessel crossed the inter-Korean sea border on the East Sea (Sea of Japan) late today to the scene where South Korean general cargo Pioneer Naya sank, and started rescue work, reported South Korean Yonhap News Agency. Earlier today, the South Korean vessel sank in international waters, about 260 km north-east of Jeojin, Gangwon Province on South Korea’s east coast. As the scene is closer to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), South Korea asked Pyongyang’s approval to let its rescuing vessel take a short cut. The DPRK side gave a green light to South Korea’s request earlier today after receiving information about the sunken vessel. It is the first time that a South Korean patrol boat has been officially allowed by DPRK to sail into its waters. The South Korean vessel, carrying iron frames, was heading to Qingdao, China, after departing Vladivostok, Russia, when it went down in high waves.
Four crew members were rescued by a Russian vessel passing by, while the other 14 were still listed as missing, Yonhap quoted maritime police as saying. According to South Korean maritime police, the vessel’s 18 crewmen included nine from South Korea, one from China and eight from Vietnam. Moreover, a consulate in China’s Consulate General in Seoul confirmed one Chinese Korean was among the missing.
21 January 2005. A maritime disaster brought a rare moment of inter-Korean cooperation yesterday. Following the sinking of general cargo Pioneer Naya, the Stalinist Pyongyang regime granted access for two South Korean ships to help out in the rescue operation. Four survivors, two from South Korea and two Vietnamese, have been plucked out of the icy seas by a Russian ship, while 14 others, seven Korean, one Chinese and six Vietnamese remain missing. Three Russian ships in the area, 160 mile north-east of Jeojin in the South’s Gangwon Province, combed the area looking for survivors while Seoul petitioned successfully to mount its first ever rescue operation in North Korean waters. The vessel, owned by small South Korean owner Garim Shipping, was travelling from Vladivostock to Qingdao, carrying steel coils and steel plate when the accident occurred. The ship hit heavy waters and overturned. A spokesman for the Seoul headquartered shipping firm told Lloyd’s List that details about the accident and the ensuing rescue operation were scarce: “Since, it happened in the North Korean sea area I do not have any information from anywhere. We have just received minimal information from the navy and maritime police,” he said. Two South Korean patrol vessels and a helicopter have been dispatched to the scene after Pyongyang was satisfied with the information provided about the nature and route of the sunken vessel, which is insured by the Japan Shipowners Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association.
21 January 2005. The search for the crew of general cargo Pioneer Naya, wrecked in the Sea of Japan yesterday, was suspended due to the coming night and bad weather. According to preliminary information, the shipwreck was caused by a shift of the load. The crew included 18 people, only four sailors have been saved so far.
22 January 2005. The search for survivors from the sinking of general cargo Pioneer Naya continued today in North Korea’s economic exclusive zone in the East Sea, the Korea Coast Guard said. Officials said today that cutter Sambong-ho arrived in the area yesterday and was leading the search in waters close to where the vessel sank.
24 January 2005. South Korea’s Coast Guard recovered the body of a Vietnamese sailor during a fourth day of rescue efforts for general cargo Pioneer Naya that sank on Thursday (20 January). The South Korean Coast Guard has been searching for 14 missing crew members, including seven Koreans, six Vietnamese and one Korean-Chinese. Four were rescued earlier by a passing Russian vessel. Separately, the South Korean Coast Guard rescued two North Koreans whose fishing boat had been drifting for two weeks due to engine failure in the area where rescue operations are under way. An official said the North Koreans will be returned to their country as soon as possible.
23 January 2005. Two of eight Vietnamese crew members from general cargo Pioneer Naya, which sank off North Korea, have been rescued. The men were taken to the Russian port of Nakhodka on 21 January and are waiting to return to Vietnam. The vessel sank off the DPRK eastern coast early on 20 January, leaving 14 out of 18 crew members missing, including eight Vietnamese. The eight Vietnamese sailors, all belonged to the Vietnam Maritime University and worked on the vessel under a cooperation contract between the VMU and South Korea’s maritime transport agencies.
25 January 2005. A South Korean vessel will resume its search for the missing crew members of general cargo Pioneer Naya, which sank last week in North Korea’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the Korea Coast Guard said today. It said that starting tomorrow, cutter Sambong will take over search duties from a 1,500 ton patrol vessel that had been conducting the search. Sambong is the largest vessel in the Coast Guard fleet and can be used for helicopter take-offs and landings.
8 February 2005
Jokulfell (Isle of Man)
Jokulfell, 11 persons on board, has capsized in lat 63 02N, long 05 02W. Wind south south-west 15 m/s and heavy sea.
Danish Navy rescue 134 helicopter on scene. Five survivors airlifted, six persons missing. Three inspection/coast guard vessels on scene searching together with a Russian trawler. (Note – Jokulfell sailed Leipaja 4 February.)
Torshaven MRCC report all crew are Estonian or Russian nationals. The five persons recovered were in the water in one group. The six missing are not thought to be in a life raft. An Icelandic fixed wing aircraft will be joining the search this morning. UK assets have been offered but declined.
8 February 2005. Ref Jokulfell, Liepaja for Reydharfjordur, Iceland, loaded, capsized and sank 60 mile north-east of the Faroe Islands last night. Five crew members were saved by a helicopter and six crew members are still reported missing. The first emergency call was heard at 20:00 hours, the vessel was sighted at 22:48 hours floating up side down and the helicopter managed to save the five crew members out of the sea.
8 February 2005. Yesterday evening ref Jokulfell sank with 11 crew members on board. Five have been rescued from the sea by a rescue helicopter and are now on board the Danish Navy vessel Vaedderen. Six crew members are still missing and the Faroe Island authorities are leading a search for the missing crewmen. Of the eleven crew members, eight are from Estonia while the remaining three are from Russia but are all living in Estonia. The wind in the area is 29 knots, visibility is good and the sea is rough. The reason for the sinking is still unknown. The vessel was en route from Estonia to Iceland with a cargo of construction steel and containers. It has approximately 200 ton of gas oil on board. Jokulfell sank at approximately 22:00, UTC, yesterday about 60 nautical miles north-east of the Faroe Islands. An electronic distress signal (DSC) was picked up from the vessel at 20:00, UTC, by Aberdeen Coastguard and relayed to the relevant authorities. Approximately two hours later a rescue helicopter from the Faroes arrived on the scene. The vessel sank shortly afterwards. The duty principal surveyor from the Isle of Man Marine Administration was alerted in the early hours of today as part of the company’s emergency response. Two surveyors from the Marine Administration were contacted and are travelling to the Faroe Islands to conduct a marine casualty investigation.
8 February 2005. Four bodies have now been found, while two people remain missing. Three Coastguard vessels, one Russian vessel, one Norwegian vessel, one Fokker aircraft from Iceland and one helicopter from the Faroe Islands are still searching in the area.
8 February 2005. Five crew members were rescued by Faroese rescue vessels, four dead crew members retrieved, two still not accounted for. The survivors are arriving at Torshavn tonight. Reason for the sinking not stated yet.
9 February 2005. Four crew members were found dead and two were still missing yesterday after the Tesma-managed ref Jokulfell capsized and sank off the Faroe Islands late on Monday night (7 February). The vessel was on a voyage from Latvia to Iceland with a cargo of construction steel and containers when the accident took place. Five crew members were rescued from the sea and transferred by helicopter to the Danish Navy vessel, Vaedderen. All five had been wearing survival suits. The cause of the sinking remains unknown, Tesma said yesterday. Two surveyors travelled to the Faroes yesterday to start the marine casualty investigation. “We are very sad to inform that the authorities have found four of the 11 crew members from the sunk ship dead,” Tesma Managing Director Claus Thornberg said. Next of kin have been informed and Tesma is offering counselling as well as medical help to the survivors of the accident, he added. The company said it was working closely with the Isle of Man authorities to provide the maximum assistance in investigating the accident. Search and rescue efforts have been coordinated by the Faroe Island authorities.
13 February 2005
Jui Tai No. 8 (China)
A ship carrying some 4,500 ton of gravel with 18 crewmen aboard has reportedly gone missing in open seas after it departed Taiwan’s Hualien during the night of 10 February, shipping industry sources said today. The Kaohsiung-based gravel ship, general cargo Jui Tai No. 8 (2,808 gt, built 1985) departed from Hualien en route to Ishigaki Island in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture on the evening of 10 February. Of the 18 crewmen, 12 were Taiwanese and six Indonesian and Burmese. The vessel was last heard from at 10 February 1958 when it reported its position – about 17 nautical miles away from Hualien Airport – to Kaohsiung’s Juipang Shipping Co., which owns the vessel. Despite the fact that the ship was equipped with VHF radio as well as a satellite telephone, Taiwan-based shipping officials have been unable to raise the ship and no signal has been received, nor has there been anything from the vessel’s automatic distress beacon. Officials speculate that the gravel ship may have encountered a large wave that swamped it without warning. The Jui Pang Shipping Co. asked the National Search and Rescue Centre for help yesterday morning, about one day after the agent on Ishigaki Island called the company to say that the vessel had not arrived as scheduled and that the agent had not received any communication from the ship since 10 February. One military search and rescue helicopter and six patrol vessels from Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration scoured the gravel ship’s route for one day but found no trace of the ship and no evidence of an oil slick that usually marks the spot where a ship has gone down. A manager from the Jui Pang Shipping Co. said today that Jui Tai No. 8 had undergone regular maintenance and overall inspections in January and that the amount of gravel on board was within safe carriage allowances. The manager said that his company is still hoping that Jui Tai No. 8 is safe and sound and has just suffered from mechanical failure and is drifting in a position that does not allow for communication.
13 February 2005. Search and rescue operations have discovered artefacts from missing general cargo Jui Tai No. 8 32 nautical miles east south-east of the port of Suao, north-eastern Taiwan, officials of the Coast Guard Administration said on Sunday. The officials said that a CGA ship retrieved a lifeboat and a steel bottle from the sea after Japanese authorities gave them information on the possible location of the ship. The CGA said the owner of the ship confirmed that the articles retrieved belong to the missing ship which went missing in open seas after it departed Hualien the night of 10 February with some 4,500 ton of gravel and 18 crewmen onboard.
15 February 2005. What appeared to be the remains of three life-support outfits were spotted at sea yesterday afternoon off the north-eastern coast of Taiwan by air rescue helicopters, as the intensive search for the missing general cargo Jui Tai No. 8 continued. According to an official with the Disaster Prevention and Rescue Operations Centre under the National Fire Agency, three life-support outfits, which might be either rubber lifeboats or life rafts, were found at 14:30 hours, yesterday approximately 30 nautical miles off Suao port in north-eastern Taiwan. However, no bodies were sighted in the proximity of the remains. “We are still unsure if those were lifeboats or life rafts, or whether they belonged to Jui Tai No. 8. The air rescue squad is working at the site, attempting to confirm the details,” said a media liaison. Although the crucial 72 hour initial period of the rescue operation had passed, authorities said they had not yet given up the hope of discovering survivors.