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4 missing after Taiwanese fishing boat catches on fire

TAIPEI -- All four crewmembers of a Taiwanese fishing boat that caught fire off Taichung Harbor in central Taiwan late Saturday had remained unaccounted for as of Monday, according to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA).

The CGA's Taichung squadron said it sent a patrol vessel on a rescue mission immediately after being tipped off that there was a suspicious blaze off Taichung Harbor.

The deck of the Hung Yi Fa was in flames when it was found, but none of its crew could be spotted in nearby waters, a Taichung coast guard official said.

Initial investigation results show that the Suao, Yilan County based fishing boat had not sent out any distress calls, the official said, adding that the boat departed Wuqi fishing port near Taichung at 3 p.m. Saturday, with skipper Yu Shui-shu and three Indonesian crew on board.

The CGA has sent more patrol ships to search for the missing men, the official said, adding that the National Rescue Command Center has also sent helicopters to take part in the search and rescue mission.

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