3 Sep 2003

Search operation for vessel in distress in French Polynesia

6:42 am on 3 September 2003

A distress call has been received in Papeete from a ship carrying 22 people in the south of French Polynesia.

Officials in Tahiti say an air-sea rescue mission has been launched for the ship which is believed to be near the island of Rimatara.

They say the 10 passengers are mainly workmen and technicians employed in building an airstrip on Rimatara.

A crisis team has been set up at the French high commission to deal with the situation.