Indonesian fishing crew rescued off Australian coast

SYDNEY (AFP) – The crew of an Indonesian fishing trawler that was “clinging to their vessel” in bad weather has been rescued off Australia’s west coast, a top Canberra official said yesterday.

The boat had started sinking in the Indian Ocean on Thursday with 20 crew members on board, Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton said in a statement.

Australian Air Force planes dropped life rafts for the crew, stranded 670 nautical miles west of Perth, before a Japanese fishing vessel picked them up on Saturday.

Dutton said the crew had been “clinging to their vessel”, and the rescue efforts took place “in bad weather and high sea state”.

The survivors were transferred to the Australian navy ship HMAS Anzac on Saturday afternoon.

“The fishermen are receiving medical support,” Dutton added.