26 Feb 2013

Kiribati search for missing fishermen unsuccessful

6:17 pm on 26 February 2013

The Kiribati marine division has little hope of finding a small fishing vessel that went missing earlier this month.

The men had left the capital port of Tarawa Atoll three weeks ago in a small wooden boat, reportedly without safety equipment.

Aircraft from New Zealand, Australia and the United States were unavailable to assist in the search for the lost fishermen.

Another fishing boat reported as missing after embarking from Maiana Atoll a week later was eventually found by a bigger fishing boat after five days.

An aircraft from Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand was unable to locate them when called out.

Temporary Marine Officer Ioteba Atanimakin says all vessels have been warned to look out for the lost men, but there is little hope.

"We hope that they are still floating out there. We did what we could the best we could without any help from the RCC aircraft and with the reports we've got, the case is I would say doubtful."

Ioteba Atanimakin says the Kiribati Government is looking to change maritime laws to enforce safety standards on small vessels.