Bodies found in boat freezer on fishing vessel in PNG

THREE bodies have been found packed among tuna in the freezer of a fishing vessel that ran aground on a remote island of Papua New Guinea.
According to an Australian Broadcasting Corporation report yesterday, the suspected illegal fishing vessel was found on December 10 at Paona Island, 200 kilometres north of Bougainville.
Due to the remote location, authorities had only begun launching an investigation mission to the area.
Franklin Lacey, Bougainville’s disaster coordinator who is leading the investigation team, told ABC: “Local reports coming from the area are that there are three dead bodies in the ship’s fridge with some fish they have caught.”
Lacey said the deceased were of Asian appearance and could have been crew members.
The identities of the bodies or the ship have not yet been established.
“The occupants of the boat, when it ran aground, they tried to burn it but it did not get ablaze – it’s only the top part of the ship that’s been burnt,” Lacey said.
Franklin said the freezer containing the corpses was still working. “We’ve been giving a warning to the locals not to get the fish from the fridge, which they normally do with other ships that run aground,” he said.
Illegal tuna fishing is common in the area and the crew members were believed to have fled to a “mothership”, acting as a hub for smaller vessels.
An assessment team was expected to leave Bougainville for the remote island (today) and hand a report to the National Maritime Safety Authority, which would lead the recovery of the bodies and the vessel.
“We’ll leave it to the NMSA to do the rest, because they could get the fish and dead people off and bury them somewhere,” Lacey said.

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