Mystery still surrounds circumstances of alleged beheading on ship

Mystery still surrounds allegations of a beheading following the rescue of crew members who had abandoned a fishing vessel off the coast of Fiji.

Fijian police are still questioning members of the crew rescued in high seas over the weekend and say they won't release any details regarding the circumstances or confirm the beheading of a crew member.

The Chinese-owned, Fiji-flagged tuna longliner FV TIRO II was found on Wednesday by a New Zealand Air Force Orion about 90 nautical miles west of Fiji, with two crew members still on board.

The Fijian navy is still searching for five crew members believed to have jumped overboard, but rough weather is understood to be hampering there efforts.

Fiji Times reporter Luke Rawalai told Morning Report the rescued crew members were at the centre of police investigations.

"At the moment the situation is sketchy as police have not confirmed the beheading," he said.

"At the moment it is all allegations. We have been talking to police and on Friday the Republic of Fiji Naval Services had rescued another two crew members of the boat who they handed over to police for investigation purposes.

"All that is coming from police at the moment is they are not confirming the beheading yet because they are still in the process of interrogating the two crew.

"There was another boat crew that had been rescued from the high seas earlier on."

There is still no understanding as to why the crew members abandoned the vessel and local police had advised media that reports of a beheading or any other detail regarding the events was merely speculation at this point.

"What we're being told to the Naval services is they can confirm the crew of the boat that had abandoned the ship but only when investigations are over that they will be able to release the reasons as to why the crews had abandoned the boat," Rawalai said.

Meanwhile, the search for the remaining missing crew was continuing.

"The last we spoke to the Fijian navy was on Saturday and they had said that the search was still on but for five crew members, who are still at sea. The current adverse weather conditions in Fiji was not helping with the search," he said.