9 Sep 2004

Autopsies to be conducted on the bodies of two Filipino fishermen found in Majuro lagoon

9:25 am on 9 September 2004

The bodies of two Asian fishermen are due to have undergone an autopsy in the Marshall Islands after they were discovered floating in a Majuro lagoon.

The two bodies were identified as Filipino fishermen who had been aboard the Fong Seong 666, a Taiwanese purse seiner, which has been ordered to remain in Majuro until a police investigation is completed.

The chief of the Sea Patrol, Thomas Heine says that a report received this week from Fong Seong's agent, Marshall Islands Fishing Venture, indicated the two fishermen had "jumped ship" last Friday.

The report also indicated that the two fishermen were last seen on Sunday aboard a sister vessel, the Fong Seong 818.

But the Port Authority reports that the Fong Seong 818 left Majuro at six o'clock in the evening on Saturday September 4th.

Mr Heine says that acording to information provided by the ships' agent, the two fishermen were last seen drinking alcohol on the Fong Seong 818 at the weekend.

Mr Heine says if the autopsies suggest foul play was involved, the vessel may be ordered to return to Majuro via the Forum Fisheries Agency's region-wide vessel monitoring system.