Vietnamese crewmen killed in Antarctic ship fire

Burning Jeong Woo 2
Image caption The South Korean Jeong Woo 2 fishing boat is still burning in the Antarctic

Three Vietnamese crewmen died when a South Korean fishing boat caught fire in Antarctica, New Zealand officials confirmed, as a US vessel treated seven injured sailors.

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) said the men did not make it out of the Jeong Woo 2's accommodation area when the fire started.

The incident happened 3,700km (2,000 miles) from New Zealand on Wednesday.

Seven injured men are being taken to an Antarctic base.

MNZ said of the seven - who are all Vietnamese and Indonesian - three men had serious injuries.

They are on board the American research vessel Nathaniel B Palmer, which reached the burning boat on Wednesday.

The US vessel is now making its way to the US McMurdo Antarctic base, located about 600km (375 miles) away.

The injured men are scheduled to be evacuated to a hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand once they reach the base.

New Zealand officials report that the Jeong Woo 2 is still ablaze and there are plans for her sister ship Jeong Woo 3 to tow the boat out of Antarctic waters to minimise the impact on the environment.

The cause of the fire will be determined by Korean maritime authorities.

The Jeong Woo 2 was built in Japan and is registered in Busan, South Korea, according to the Associated Press news agency.

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