Chinese envoy asks Australia to increase search for 39 aboard capsized fishing boat in Indian Ocean

Canberra, May 18 (BNA): A Chinese envoy asked the Australian authorities today, Thursday, to step up efforts to find survivors in a search operation in the Indian Ocean for 39 missing crew members from an overturned Chinese fishing boat.

Chinese Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian said that the Australian authorities have already sent four planes and three ships to the search area, which is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

No survivors or life rafts were spotted, according to the Associated Press.

Xiao said China wanted to coordinate with “friendly countries,” including Australia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, in search and rescue efforts following Tuesday’s coup. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, coordinating the search, said the overturned hull was seen on Tuesday from a freighter about 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) northwest of Perth, on Australia’s west coast.

Chinese authorities say the missing crew include 17 Chinese, 17 Indonesians and five Filipinos.

“We hope they can send more planes, ships and more personnel,” Xiao told reporters, referring to the Australian authorities.

“We hope that our Australian colleagues will coordinate with other international or foreign ships or ships near that area to assist in search and rescue to save as many lives as possible.”

On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Qiang ordered Chinese diplomats, as well as the ministries of agriculture and transportation, to help search for survivors.

Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines have also expressed willingness to take part in the search, and commercial and fishing vessels in the area searched for survivors on Wednesday.

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The search agency said a multinational search effort was continuing on Thursday for an area of ​​12,000 square kilometers (4,600 square miles) south of where the overturned hulk was found.

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