Tuna boat burns and sinks
KOH HEY: A Taiwanese-owned tuna fishing boat, the KM Vaninda 34, caught fire yesterday about nine nautical miles off Koh Hey and sank after burning fiercely for about an hour. The Taiwanese skipper and engineer, along with the seven other crew members – one Malaysian and six Indonesians – jumped overboard and were rescued by a passing dive boat, the Rawai-based Chok Somboon, which landed them in Chalong. The 60-meter fiberglass-hulled Vaninda, valued at 10 million baht, was first reported afire at 4:15 pm, said Pol Lt Col Narong Natebutra, Inspector of the Phuket Marine Police “The fire started in the engine room,” Col Narong added. “The reason the boat burned so fiercely was that it had about 10,000 liters of diesel in its fuel tanks.” Tsai Ting Hou, 51, the boat’s Taiwanese captain, told police that the vessel sailed from Rassada Port on November 16. The crew had caught two tonnes of tuna when, two days ago, the vessel developed engine trouble. It was on its way back to Phuket for repairs when the fire started.
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