MaltaToday | 16 July 2008 | Searches resumes for missing boat, US aircraft joins search

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NEWS | Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Searches resumes for missing boat, US aircraft joins search

An American PC-3 Orion aircraft yesterday joined the search for a Maltese fishing boat missing in the centre of the Mediterranean.
Also involved in the search are an Italian military Atlantique aircraft, an AB 212 helicopter of the Italian Military Mission and an AFM Islander aircraft. The search is being concentrated south east of Lampedusa.
Meanwhile, an AFM patrol boat, P52, Monday night brought in 28 illegal migrants intercepted 36 miles off Malta. Another AFM boat, P51, monitored a boat carrying 340 migrants which went to Lampedusa.
The Armed Forces of Malta were involved in search and rescue operations in Maltese waters involving migrants apart from the search for the Maltese registered fishing boat, Simshar, and its five-man crew.
On Monday, the AFM Air Wing’s Islander aircraft and the locally-based Italian Air Force AB 212 Search-and-Rescue helicopter of the Italian military Mission conducted morning searches for the Simshar, whilst Sigonella-based Italian Navy Atlantique aircraft and a US Navy 6th Fleet P3-Orion aircraft conducted afternoon searches as well, but all with no results. Searches resumed yesterday.
Contact with the boat, the 12-metre Simshar, was last made on Wednesday, when everything was reported normal on board. The boat had been due to return to Malta on Friday.
Those on board include an 11-year-old boy, his father and grandfather and another two men, including an Ethiopian.
On Monday afternoon, the Italian warship Fenice was contacted by the fishing-vessel Grecale after it rescued 28 illegal migrants from a capsized boat in a position some 36 nautical miles in the south of Malta.
The AFM’s Protector-class patrol-vessel P-52, already en route to support P-51 which was heading to Lampedusa on a previously reported case, was diverted to this new scenario to render assistance as required.
The AFM arrived at around 5pm, and immediately took onboard the group of migrants, allegedly all hailing from Somalia. The Maritime Squadron’s patrol boat returned to Malta at 9pm, where it landed the migrants at Haywharf Base to await police authorities.

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