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Antarctica - New Zealand

Up to 22 feared dead as trawler sinks off Antarctica

Reuters

Up to 22 fishermen are feared dead after a South Korean trawler sank off Antarctica on Monday. The owners said the No 1 Insung may have collided with an iceberg, while rescuers said the men had no chance to put on protective gear before hitting the water.

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Twenty of the crew were picked up by another trawler shortly after the ship sank at about 6.30am local time. Five bodies have been recovered, while the remaining crew members are presumed dead since they only had minutes to live without proper immersion suits.

Maritime New Zealand said the trawler sank so quickly into the Southern Ocean that it did not even have a chance to send a distress signal. They had coordinated a rescue effort that saw five trawlers search the remote area 1,000 nautical miles north of the McMurdo Antarctic base and 1,500 nautical miles from New Zealand's southern tip.

Insung Corporation spokesman Ryan Kim said the company was trying to work out what happened.

"The boat sank in about 30 minutes. We are trying hard to find the reason why it sank so quickly," he told French press agency AFP.

"We believe the vessel might have been hit by an iceberg or a strong wave, although we have yet to secure any evidence of this. We are now collecting information from the surviving crew."

A coastguard spokesman in the South Korean port of Busan, where the ship is based, said there were eight Koreans, eight Chinese, 11 Indonesians, 11 Vietnamese, three Filipinos and one Russian on board.

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