13 fishermen heading home after boat found in South China Sea

08:50, December 20, 2010      

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Thirteen Chinese fishermen who were lost on their wooden-hulled vessel in the South China Sea are being towed back to shore after being found on Sunday.

The fishing boat, Qiong Danzhou 11166, is expected to dock at Baimajing port in south China's Hainan island, early Monday, said Mai Ruiqing, head of Zhenfu Village, Baimajing County.

All 13 fishermen aboard were safe when the boat was found 110 nautical miles offshore by a rescue boat from the Hainan Maritime Salvage Center early Sunday, said Mai.

Two other fishing boats were towing the vessel back to shore under escort by the search boat.

The fishing vessel captain had decided to anchor at sea to avoid a storm after the engines failed.

The boat left Baimajing at noon on Dec. 12 and was last in contact with another fishing boat early Tuesday.

Maritime authorities dispatched a search team on Friday. Officials said strong gales prevented a search earlier.

Also in the South China Sea, a Vietnamese-registered cargo vessel capsized and sank in strong gales Thursday about 110 nautical miles west of Sanya city, Hainan.

Two Vietnamese sailors were rescued Friday, but 25 others are still missing.

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