30 Jul 2003

13 lost at sea off Fiji for more than two weeks

3:14 pm on 30 July 2003

13 people have been reported missing at sea in Fiji for the last 18 days.

They were on a fishing boat which failed to arrive off the north-east coast Vanua Levu on July the 12th as scheduled.

The matter was not reported to police until July 20th when an accompanying boat brought news of the missing men.

The operations commander of the Fiji navy, Lt Commander Francis Kean, says they were notified a day later and carried out an aerial search with a chartered aircraft without sighting the missing men.

A navy vessel is still currently engaged in the search.

Meanwhile the Fiji Times reports that authorities are investigating an alleged case of mutiny on the high seas involving a local vessel.

It involves the master of the ADI LOMAI reporting that his crew sailed off with the vessel from an island despite orders not to sail in bad weather, leaving him and his passengers stranded.