Search for sailor called off

UPDATED 9am: THE search for a Korean sailor who is believed to have fallen overboard from a cargo ship was called off overnight.

The 62-year-old master of the Ocean Ceasar was reported missing about 4pm on Saturday and planes have been searching for him since.

An Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman said the search was called off after advice it was not possible for the man to have survived this long.

The spokeswoman said the vessel had been asked to divert to Mooloolaba, where Queensland Police will board the craft and conduct enquiries.

The vessel is expected to arrive in Mooloolaba this morning.

Seach teams spent more than 36 hours scouring the water for the man believed to have fallen off the bulk carrier about 180km north-east of Bundaberg.

Seven fixed-wing aircraft searched a 220 nautical mile radius about 40 nautical miles from the Sandy Cape for any signs of the man.

The number of planes was reduced to six yesterday afternoon.

The master of the Ocean Caesar had not been seen for about two hours when the crew noticed he was missing.

It is believed he fell overboard.

An AMSA Dornier began the air search on Saturday night using infrared, but was not successful.

The AGL Action Rescue Helicopter from Bundaberg also took part in the search on Saturday afternoon, but had to return to base at nightfall.

The vessel remained in the area to help with the search.

The aircraft flew in and out of Hervey Bay, using the coastal city as a base for refuelling.

The ship was heading to South Africa from Hay Point, near Gladstone.

It is not known what cargo the Panama-registered vessel was carrying.

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