Efforts Underway To Find Missing Kiribati Fishing Crew

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Local authorities remind boaters to keep emergency gear

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 6, 2013) – A search and rescue operation is underway in Kiribati as another report of a lost fishing crew was made on Tuesday.

The fishing crew set out Monday morning from Tarawa Atoll and headed towards the atoll of Maiana, to the south, and were due back by sunset.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand has been notified and is assisting with the mission, coordinated from Marine Search and Rescue in Tarawa.

Director of Marine Captain Ruoikabuti Tioon says aircraft are searching for the crew. He says he is trying to send a message to the public about marine safety, after repeated incidents of missing crews.

"Should they have any problems when they go and fish, we know that they can be still found if they use these flares and all those things. I encourage the public to have these sorts of equipment for now, even though it’s not under the law yet. But the problem is most people do not consider their lives important before they go out fishing."

Captain Ruoikabuti Tioon says there will be a review of marine laws to include safety standards for small boats.

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