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Thursday, 25 October 1973
Page: 2676

Mr SHERRY (FRANKLIN, TASMANIA) - My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Transport, is supplementary to the one asked by my colleague the honourable member for Braddon. Can the Minister say whether the Japanese fishing boats were requested to report any wreckage or survivors from the 'Blythe Star'?

Mr CHARLES JONES - On Wednesday, 17 October, the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency in Tokyo was requested to alert to the situation all Japanese fishing vessels known to frequent Tasmanian waters. It was requested to ask Japanese vessels to keep a lookout for the ship itself, for wreckage and for survivors. That request was acknowledged by that Agency, but as yet we have received no advice as to whether the Japanese did find anything or see anyone.

Since the honourable member for Braddon asked his question I have received some further information which may be of interest to him and also to the honourable member for Franklin. The Department of Transport surveyor in Hobart has talked to some of the members of the crew, but not to the captain as yet. They say that they saw fishing vessels which they thought were Japanese and that they were some 30 to 40 miles off the Tasman Peninsula light. The raft was about a mile away from the fishing vessels. They fired a rocket but received no response from the fishing vessels. Also, on 19 October the Royal Australian Air Force search aeroplanes reported sighting 2 Japanese fishing vessels about 25 miles south-east of Cape Pillar. These ships naturally were in open sea in international waters.

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