THE famed ''black current'' has swept explorer Tim Severin and the six crew of his bamboo raft away from Taiwan, forcing him to abandon his first port of call on the way to America. Severin had been hoping to catch the current, known to the Japanese as kuroshio, off the coast of Japan to push him deep into the Pacific. Yesterday he transmitted his first radio message since Friday, relayed through a passing ship, putting his position about 90 nautical miles northeast of Taipei. The message said: ''All well on board sailing vessel Hsu Fu but that our radio is broken and we are not able to land in Taiwan. We are proceeding to Miyako Island or to Okinawa.'' The Republic of China Yachting Association fear the expedition is running short of food as the current had deprived them of a vital supply stop. Association Vice-Commodore Robert Wu said he hoped rescue boats would be able to reach Severin today. However, Mr Wu said the scant radio messages, made through a hand-held set with only a five-mile range after his satellite radio fax broke down early in the voyage, gave no mention of food. ''He was supposed to come here for more supplies, so we're quite worried,'' Mr Wu said. ''As a normal sailor I'm quite worried. Surely he needs not only food but also fresh batteries for his radio. He has solar panels for power but I don't think they're working very well.'' Prospective crew-member Rex Warner said from the voyage's Taipei headquarters that he was confident Severin was in good shape, making the most of the current while he had it. Before setting off from Hongkong last month, Severin said he hoped to catch fish and seagulls to supplement a diet of dried fish, dried fruit and rice while keeping his raft as simple as possible for authenticity. Severin is hoping to emulate the feat of Chinese mariners who he believes may have sailed to America as far back as 3,000 years ago - 14 centuries before Christopher Columbus.