Search for missing Tiro crew suspended

Fiji Navy has suspended the search for five crew members of Tiro II that sank off Sigatoka waters last week.

However, monitoring spearheaded by the RFNS Savenaca, with broadcast and warning to ships in the area continue, Fiji Navy Commander Timoci Natuva told MaiTV.

The missing five was part of Tiro’s 8-member crew who reportedly jumped overboard on Monday 17 May after an incident on board the vessel, particulars of which are still being investigated.

 In making their decision, Natuva said they considered a range of factors.

“Including the number of days the crewmen were in the water, and information received that they had jumped overboard without any form of floating device,” Natuva said, “The weather experienced during the time the persons were in the water without any life jackets, the distance from the nearest point of land, and the area covered by aerial and surface surfaced. Based on [that], we have suspended the search.”

Fiji Navy via the RFNS Kikau, with the support of the NZAF and LifeFlight Fiji, launched a SAR on Wednesday 19 May, after they were notified of the incident. The missing five include two Fijians, Samu Sukera and Qiritivabea Cagilabakomeli and three Indonesians including the captain, Benjamin Semuel, Eme Warma, and Alfat Kodri.

The search team rescued the remaining three in Tevita Kapawale, Mitieli Cama and Kaminieli Tucama. One was located onboard a liferaft on the afternoon of Thursday 20 May, and two others, who had remained onboard Tiro as it took in water were picked up the next day, Friday 21 May, by a partner fishing vessel Sam Weon 11. The FV Tiro 2 sank the same day as well.

Fiji Police spokesperson Savaira Tabua said investigations into the events that transpired on the vessel are ongoing.

Photo: Fiji Navy

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