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Sri Lanka Navy divers managed to find 14 bodies from the Chinese vessel that capsized in the Indian Ocean

Sri Lanka Navy divers managed to find 14 bodies from the Chinese vessel that capsized in the Indian Ocean

The Sri Lanka Navy says its divers managed to find a total of 14 bodies from the Chinese vessel that capsized in the Indian Ocean last week.

The Navy carried out a search and rescue operation to assist the ongoing operations at the overturned Chinese fishing vessel LU PENG YUAN YU 028, which was reported on 16th May, 2023 in the Australian Search and Rescue Region, south of Sri Lanka.

Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel, SLNS Vijayabahu with a team of Navy divers was deployed for the mission.

The Navy said in a statement that as per Sri Lanka’s commitment to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) Colombo established at the Navy Headquarters, is responsible for coordinating and facilitating maritime search and rescue operations in its designated region as well as neighbouring regions.

Upon reaching the scene, Sri Lanka Navy divers had meticulously searched for air pockets within the upturned vessel, hoping to find any survivors.

After strenuous diving amidst the challenges of zero visibility and enormous water turbulence, the Navy divers had recovered two bodies from the captain’s cabin and accommodation area and they were handed over to the Tug De Tian on scene.

Additionally, the Navy divers located 12 more bodies of the crew from various compartments of the vessel.

Due to decomposition and the potential health hazards posed by operating in contaminated waters with limited protective gear, they had determined that retrieving those bodies would be exceedingly dangerous.

The Navy said the decision was then made to map the locations of the bodies, while prioritizing the safety of the SLN divers.

Subsequently, the Diving officer and Navy divers attached to SLNS Vijayabahu briefed the officers who arrived on MV SHANDONG DE LONG, with a Chinese salvage team.

A comprehensive briefing on the mapped locations of corpses, safe passages for divers to enter and exit the overturned vessel as well as the onward action was made by the Sri Lanka Navy team.

The Chinese fishing vessel overturned on the 16th of May with 17 Chinese nationals, 17 Indonesians and five from the Philippines on board.

According to the initial probe by the Chinese government, there were no survivors.