Officer-in-charge of Hervey Bay Water Police and Regional Search and Rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Paul Bacon.
Officer-in-charge of Hervey Bay Water Police and Regional Search and Rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Paul Bacon. Alistair Brightman

Police hold grave fears for trio missing on trawler

POLICE hold grave concerns for three men out at sea off Fraser Island.

The crew aboard a trawler has not been heard from for almost two weeks.

The fishing trawler departed from Urangan on November 11 at about 9.45pm.

It then travelled east through Breaksea Spit before communications ceased the following morning.

That was the last time anyone heard from those aboard.

The trawler was scheduled to dock at a Sunshine Coast location on November 18. Its crew includes a 60-year-old experienced male skipper, a 24-year-old man and a 38-year-old man.

They are described as not coming from the Fraser Coast region.

Officer-in-charge of Hervey Bay Water Police and Regional Search and Rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Paul Bacon said the search operation began yesterday.

"Family members raised concerns over their communication was long overdue," he said.

"It's not uncommon for trawlers to be gone for long times.

"After the last point of communication, it is assumed that they continued with their fishing activities.

"The air and sea search is covering the area from Yeppoon to the Gold Coast.

"The operation is fairly extensive," Sgt Bacon said.

He said that at this stage, it was too early to make calls about what could have possibly happened.

"As soon as a vessel has been reported as overdue, it is treated with seriousness.

"Anything could have occurred, and could have happened in an extremely large area.

"It could just be an electrical problem with the signal, we really don't know."

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the men should call CrimeStoppers 1800333000.

"The search will continue, and we will work with the families to make sure they are comfortable with the operation," Sgt Bacon said.

The identities of the men have not yet been public as not all of the men's relatives have been contacted.

The trawler is 17m long.

Marine Rescue Hervey Bay and Marine Rescue Bundaberg have been issuing messages on the marine radio to help out with the search for the missing trawler.

Vice-Comodoore Jill Barclay said both volunteer groups had been getting the message out via marine radio to advise boaties on the water to make contact with police if the missing trawler is seen.

"We started putting messages out on Saturday November 19 after direction from Water Police," Ms Barclay said.



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