The vessel, the search of which was suspended on Monday near Antarctica, has been identified as the reefer Keshan (IMO 7905039). It was built in 1980 in Denmark. In August 2013, the vessel was renamed to Tiantai. It is 2,144-ton, 75-meter and it is registered in Tanzania. The owner of the ship is unknown.
The fishing boat disappeared on March 30 in the southern Indian Ocean. According to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), it issued a distress signal early on Sunday morning about 400 miles (650 km) north of the Antarctic mainland (3,241 km southwest of Perth).
A civil aircraft and a P3 Orion plane were dispatched to the area of the distress call. They managed to find only debris with no signs of people or a life raft in the ocean. The missing boat has been suspected of being involved in illegal fishing.
AMSA called off the search a day later, on March 31, saying:
"Based on medical advice... in the current weather conditions there is no chance of survival."
According to the rescue agency, the sailors would have to fight (and survive) winds of 44 mph (70 kph), 7-meter swells and temperature of the air -17 C (water: 0 degrees C).
"Expert medical advice indicated that even under the best circumstances, namely the crew abandoning ship into a dry life raft, there is no prospect of survival," they added.
According to AMSA, there are indicators that the vessel was illegally fishing Patagonian toothfish – prized delicacy in any seafood restaurant. There is no information about the number of crew members that were on board the vanished vessel.