ALL 43 crew members of a burning fishing vessel off the west coast of New Zealand have abandoned ship and been transferred to two other fishing vessels.
The 64-metre trawler, the Amaltal Columbia, with 43 people on board, alerted the Rescue Co-ordination Centre to a fire in its hold about 5.20am (3.20 AEST) on Wednesday.
The alert was upgraded to a mayday call at 6.20am.
Shortly after 8am, a Maritime NZ spokesman confirmed to AAP the crew was abandoning the ship, following an order issued by the ship’s master.
Initially, 39 crew members were transferred to a Russian fishing vessel which responded to the mayday call.
The remaining four crew members were transferred to another vessel which arrived at the scene later.
All the crew members are being taken to Lyttelton.
No injuries have been reported.