Freighter Asian Express sinking, crew evacuated, Indian ocean
General cargo vessel Asian Express experienced engine problem on June 10 13 en route from Port Bin Qasim, Pakistan, to Maldives, with cargo of sand and cement. Vessel requested assistance on June 12 or earlier, Indian media said Master of the vessel issued distress signal in the morning June 12. Vessel was some 50 nautical miles north of Minicoy island, Lakshadweep group of islands, Laccadive sea, in position 09 04N 072 55E. Indian Coast Guard ship Varuna came to assist, but abandoned all attempts to fix engine because of deteriorating weather conditions. Sea became too rough, it was decided to evacuate all 22 crew, including 18 Maldivians and 4 Indians. Crew is safe, vessel reportedly, is afloat and drifting.