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Lian Sheng Fa Fishing Boat Major Marine Occurrence

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Fishing Boat
Latitude 7°50.96'S, Longitude 62°56.79'E


On February 19, 2023, a fishing vessel “Lian Sheng Fa”, with CT number CT4-2896, lost contact while operating in the Indian Ocean. On February 25, another Taiwan’s fishing vessel found a suspected vessel capsized at high sea, it’s reference position – Latitude 7°50.96'S, Longitude 62°56.79'E. On February 26, the Coast Guard agency of Mauritius confirmed that the suspected vessel was “Lian Sheng Fa”, and no life raft and crew were found in the accident area. To date, a total of 16 crew members are missing. (1 Taiwanese captain and 15 Indonesian crew members)


According to the marine casualty notification, on February 19th, 2023, at 12:21 hours, the "LIAN SHENG FA" was approximately 490 nautical miles northeast of Port Louis when the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) reported abnormalities and the boat's satellite phone unable to contact. On February 24th, 2023, a search and rescue agency in Mauritius found a fishing boat suspected to be the "LIAN SHENG FA", and on February 26th, Mauritius's coast guard confirmed that the boat was the capsized hull of the "LIAN SHENG FA". Subsequently, the boat's hull was towed to Mombasa Port in Kenya. On May 20th, 2023, divers conducted an underwater inspection of the hull, but the inspection did not find any missing crew inside. This occurrence resulted in the "LIAN SHENG FA" loss and capsizing, with all 16 crew members reported missing.

Investigation Found

    About Possible Causes
    1. The day before the occurrence, a strong hurricane named "Freddy" was moving from east to west over the Indian Ocean, gradually approaching the area where the “LIAN SHENG FA” was located. The intensity of the hurricane continued to increase. It is probable that the captain of the “LIAN SHENG FA” did not know the predicted path of Hurricane “Freddy”, and he did not choose to change course early to avoid it, instead continuing to approach the path of the hurricane.
    2. On the day of the occurrence, Hurricane “Freddy” reached its most severe level (Category 5, with wind speeds exceeding 252 kilometers per hour). Although the captain of the “LIAN SHENG FA” was informed by contacting a nearby vessel that the hurricane was approaching, they immediately changed course to move away from the hurricane. However, at that time, the “LIAN SHENG FA” was within 50 nautical miles of the radius of Hurricane “Freddy's” storm zone, making it difficult to safely escape the storm. Ultimately, the “LIAN SHENG FA” capsized after being hit by strong winds and huge waves.

    About Risk
    1. When the “LIAN SHENG FA” was in distress, there was no signal from the boat's Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), and the opportunity for timely rescue was lost.
    2. From August 2019 to the end of March 2023, a total of 12 domestic fishing boats were lost or sunk. During this period, the Cospas-Sarsat system(Taipei Mission Control Center) did not receive the Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) of the previously mentioned boats’ EPIRB signal. It shows that there are issues with the installation and usage of EPIRB on domestic fishing boats.
    3. On the morning of the occurrence, “LIAN SHENG FA” was about 50 miles away from Hurricane Freddy. The captain of the boat inquired about the weather to two other ships nearby through a satellite phone. The captain learned that the hurricane was approaching, and then changed the sailing plan to go northwest immediately. However the escape timing and travel speed of “LIAN SHENG FA” could not ensure that it would not be affected by the strong hurricane.

    1. All crew members’ certificates were within the validity period.
    2. “LIAN SHENG FA” held the Republic of China Ship Inspection Certificate and the fishing license issued by the Fisheries Agency, Ministry of Agriculture, both of which were valid.
    3. “LIAN SHENG FA” completed its regular vessel inspection on May 20, 2022, and the inspection results indicated that it complied with relevant regulations.
    4. The main engine failure and structural damage to the hull structure of “LIAN SHENG FA” have been ruled out as the probable cause.