Missing Kiribati fishermen rescued by FSM crew

Two missing fishermen from Kiribati have been rescued by a Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)-flagged vessel in the waters of Marshall Islands.

The two I-Kiribati fishermen had been adrift in their dinghy for seven days when found by the crew of the Queen Elizabeth 959, a domestic fishing vessel from the FSM.

According to a press release from the FSM government, the pair are in good health and condition, and their boat was successfully taken aboard the Queen Elizabeth 959.

They had earlier been located by the aircrew of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion which flew from Auckland to mount a search of an area spanning 7,300 square miles.

As the Queen Elizabeth 959 was in the vicinity, the RNZAF crew requested it to rendezvous with the dinghy, in co-ordination with the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ.

The FSM president, David Panuelo in a statement expressed gratitude to the crew of the Queen Elizabeth 959 for rescuing the pair.

"When I speak to His Excellency Taneti Maamau, President of the Republic of Kiribati, again next week or the following on matters relevant to the Micronesian Presidents Summit, I will make it a point to emphasize that we categorically guarantee the safe return of the fishermen."

The FSM government says it is the intention of the Queen Elizabeth 959 to send the two fishermen back to Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati, after it completes its current fishing trip.

The vessel is presently heading to Nauru, followed by Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands



Photo: FSM Government  Caption: Two fishermen from Kiribati, Ateota Teraka and Tairaiti Arakanria, onboard the Queen Elizabeth 959 (FSM-flagged vessel) after being rescued in Marshall Islands waters following a seven day vigil at sea.