Rescuers search for 4 missing fishermen after Taiwan boat crash kills five

TAIPEI (AFP) - Rescuers are searching for four missing fishermen after a Taiwanese boat collided with a huge cargo ship and capsized off the island's north coast, killing five, officials said on Monday.

The bodies of the Taiwanese skipper, three Chinese and one Indonesian crew members have already been recovered after the collision on Friday, and the authorities have launched an investigation.

A coast guard spokesman said Monday that rescuers were still searching for three more Indonesian and one Chinese crew listed as missing from the fishing boat.

The 48-tonne Shih Hui 31 was sailing off Chuwei, a port near Taoyuan city, early on Friday when it collided with the 8,000-tonne cargo ship carrying gravel, the authorities said.

The authorities have launched an investigation. The cargo ship's Taiwanese second officer Tseng Teh-rong and a Filipino sailor on duty at the time of the crash have have been interrogated and were released on bail Saturday.

"The duo were considered suspects after an initial investigation," Mr Wang Yi-wen, spokesman for the Prosecutors' Office in the northern Taoyuan city, told AFP.

But he would not give further details, saying only that their testimony would be doublechecked against evidence on the boat such as radar-mapping data.