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Taiwan fishing vessel reportedly hijacked by Indonesian fishermen

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Reports emerged yesterday claiming that a Pingtung-based fishing vessel, the Guo Rong No. 333 (國榮333號), had been hijacked by Indonesian fishermen.

Taiwan's de facto embassy in Indonesia subsequently notified the Indonesian search and rescue authorities. As of press time, the Taiwanese fishing vessel was located 40 nautical miles off the coast of West Papua. Crewmen on nearby fishing vessels were also notified via radio to keep their eyes open.

The owner of the Guo Rong No. 333 said that he called the vessel's captain but that there was no answer; however, he was certain that the Guo Rong No. 333 was heading toward Indonesia.

An official with Taiwan's representative office in Indonesia told the CNA that the de facto ambassador has notified the Indonesia's national search and rescue center. The official said that the Guo Rong No. 333 has been confirmed to be in waters roughly 40 nautical miles off the coast of West Papua.

The official explained that West Papua is a relatively rural part of the Southeast Asian country, and that it takes at least six to seven hours by plane to reach the province from Jakarta.

The official also said that there are relatively few coastguard patrol boats in the area, but that fishing and commercial vessels in the area have been notified to keep a look out for the Taiwanese boat.

The representative office said that it will remain in close contact with the relevant Indonesian authorities, and it will relay more information once it receives the latest updates.

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