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Seafarer falls from boxship in Busan

Korea Coast Guard is searching for a Filipino seafarer who is believed to have fallen overboard from a container ship in Busan, South Korea.

The coast guard said that shortly after midnight local time on 29 March, the seafarer, who is in his 20s, had fallen from the Bahamas-flagged ship while it was moored at the south outer anchorage of the Busan port.

The coast guard was alerted to the incident by the crew of a nearby cargo ship. The crew on that ship had heard the Filipino seafarer’s cries for help, but their efforts to pull him up failed due to strong swells in the waters.

A coast guard vessel, a rescue boat and a special rescue team have been assigned to search for the missing seafarer, with assistance from the local air corps.

The name of the ship from which the seafarer reportedly fell was not disclosed.

However, S&P Global’s vessel-tracking data suggests that the ship is a 2011-built, 1,024 TEU Optima, which is owned by Japanese tonnage provider Kotoku Kaiun and operated by Korea Marine Transport Company (KMTC Line). Optima arrived in Busan on 29 March and departed for Japan the following day.

Foul play has been ruled out and the coast guard does not believe that the missing seafarer planned to abscond or overstay in South Korea, as his personal belongings, including his wallet, identification documents and cash, were left on the ship.

That said, local media, citing coast guard sources, reported that the seafarer was mentally troubled, as his fellow crewmen claimed he was given time off work due to symptoms of depression.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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