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Taiwanese fishing boat still missing after 9 days

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A Taiwanese fishing boat, the Fu Fa No. 12, went missing while operating in the Indian Ocean on March 24, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday it has contacted the Taiwanese representative offices overseas and offered help in searching for the boat.

The boat sailed from the southern county of Pingtung in March 2010 to fish in waters near the Mauritius in the southern Indian Ocean and remained in the area to catch tuna and marlin, according to the Liuqiu fishermen's association in Pingtung.

On March 21, the boat sailed from Port Louis in the Mauritius, and on March 24 around 3:00 a.m. the owner of the boat and the wife of the Taiwanese captain missed calls from the “Fu Fa No. 12.” When the pair called back, they could not reach anyone onboard.

The captain had kept in regular contact with his wife and the boat's owner since its departure, boat owner Chen Ming (陳銘) said.

MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao yesterday said that on March 27 the ministry received a report regarding the incident and immediately contacted the Taipei Liaison Office in the RSA, Taiwan's representative office in Cape Town, and contacted Mauritius' maritime patrol unit to seek its assistance in searching for the boat. Kao added that currently there is no specific information regarding the boat's location.

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