NZDF Continues Search for Missing Kiribati Fishing Vessels

7 May 2019

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will continue searching for two vessels in Kiribati that had been overdue from separate fishing trips since last week.

Air Component Commander Air Commodore Tim Walshe said a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft sent from Auckland yesterday would resume the search today.

The crew made good progress yesterday in covering the search area despite poor weather conditions, Air Commodore Walshe said.

One of the missing vessels is a six-metre wooden boat with three people on board. The second is a four-metre canoe with one person on board.

The Fiji Maritime Surveillance Rescue Coordination Centre, which is responsible for the search area, requested assistance from the NZDF on Sunday after a search by a local patrol boat failed to find either vessel on Friday.

The two missing vessels were last seen by a local search aircraft late on Friday afternoon.

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) is providing search area determination drift models to assist with the search.

RCCNZ senior search and rescue officer Keith Allen said these models could give an accurate projection of the rate of drift of various objects based on the current and winds in the area.

This page was last reviewed on 7 May 2019.