Ch'ien-chen Fishing Harbor, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

A Filipino fisherman has been accused of killing a fellow crewman and severely injuring another – both Filipino – on a Taiwan-registered fishing vessel in the Indian Ocean on Wednesday. Reports said the violence prompted remaining crewmen to flee the vessel.

Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency received a distress message at about 3am on February 20 from the Taiwanese captain Chen Chen-mao, reporting an incident on his vessel ‘Wen Peng’, which was around 1,540 nautical miles from Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, the China Daily News reported.

The vessel, which set off from Ch’ien-chen Fishing Harbor in Kaohsiung on January 29, reportedly had a crew of 24 – 10 Filipinos, 11 Indonesians and three Taiwanese – plus the 57-year-old captain.

For reasons unknown, a fight broke out between a Filipino crew member and two compatriots, resulting in one being stabbed to death and the other severely injured. The body of the dead fisherman was allegedly thrown into the sea.

The alleged attacker, who may have been emotionally unstable, ordered the rest of the crew to jump into the sea. Twelve crew members complied but were able to be rescued later. Four were picked up by the fishing boat ‘Hung Fu 88’, while the remaining eight were picked up by the Australian-registered boat ‘Stahla’.

The captain and two Taiwanese crew members were reportedly safe and awaiting rescue after locking themselves inside the ship’s bridge. Other crew members were not believed to have been injured.

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