CANBERRA. — Australian maritime safety authorities say they have grave concerns for the crew of a Tanzanian-flagged fishing support vessel that is missing near the Antarctic mainland. The Australian Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCC) initiated a search for the 75-metre vessel yesterday after a signal from an emergency distress beacon registered to the boat was detected in the far southern Indian Ocean.
The RCC was unable to establish communications with the vessel and the nature of distress was unknown, said a statement from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
The beacon was located about 3 241km southwest of Perth and 648km north of the Antarctic mainland.
A civil jet flew from Melbourne and an Australian air force P3 Orion was switched from the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 to investigate the beacon.
A civil jet was brought in to replace the P3 in the search for MH370.
They were unable to locate the vessel, but debris was seen in the location of the beacon signal.
“Grave concerns are held for the crew,” said the statement.
Subject to weather conditions, the search would continue today.
AMSA was also attempting to identify and contact the owners of the vessel to establish its whereabouts. — Xinhua.