A Korean fishing caught fire early Wednesday morning in the Ross Sea, approximately 2,000 nautical miles southeast of New Zealand, killing three crew members and injuring several others. The RCCNZ says that as many as 40 crew members were onboard when it caught fire.
The vessel, the 51 meter Jeong Woo 2, sent out a distress call in the early hours of Wednesday morning which was picked up by another Korean fishing vessel in the area and then relayed to officials from the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ).
A number of vessels responded to the call and two Korean fishing vessels, the Jeong Woo 3 and Hong Jin 707, were able to reach the Jeong Woo 2 and evacuate the crew from the burning vessel. The fire reportedly tore through the accomadation block of the Jeong Woo 2.
Three crew members were reported missing and presumed dead.
Two are understood to have extensive burn injuries and a another five crew have less serious burns, RCCNZ says.
The RCCNZ later confirmed that injured crew from the burning vessel were been transferred to the United States research vessel Nathaniel B Palmer, which has medical staff and facilities on board.
The vessel is now sailing to McMurdo Base about 600 kilometers southwest of the burning vessels position.
The trip is expected to take between 24 and 30 hours, depending on ice and weather conditions.