There was still no sign of the missing 12-metre-long fishing boat Simshar as the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) and the Italian Military Mission continued with their search yesterday.

Wreckage was spotted by Maltese fishermen about 30 miles to the west of Malta some time in the morning. An AFM spokesman said, however, that the crew of an Alouette helicopter, deployed to the area to conduct a broader look-out, later reported that the flotsam was not from the Simshar.

A number of Marsaxlokk fishermen joined the search, which is concentrated to the south and south west of the island.

An AFM Islander aircraft, an AB212 helicopter of the Italian Military Mission based in Malta and an aircraft from the Italian Navy were deployed yesterday.

The searchers operated within the Libyan Search and Rescue Region in coordination with the Libyan authorities.

The AFM is maintaining contact with the National Fisheries Cooperative through its secretary Ray Bugeja.

The Simshar, with a five-man crew, was due to return to Malta last Friday after a swordfish fishing trip but failed to return by Saturday. On board were Simon Bugeja, his father Carmelo, his 11-year-old son Teo, Noel Carabott and an Eritrean fisherman.

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