19 Mar 2004

Wreck found off New Caledonia's Mare island

4:18 pm on 19 March 2004

Fishermen off New Caledonia's Mare island have discovered the wreck of a what is believed to be a Taiwanese fishing vessel.

The Zhong I, which is about 15 metres long, is believed to have had a crew of up to 12 but police using a helicopter found that the vessel was abandoned.

An investigation has been opened to determine what happened to the ship.

Reports say it was owned by a Taiwanese company and they also say the boat had no licence to fish in Vanuatu waters from where it may have drifted.

One theory is that the boat may have been hit by Cyclone Ivy which swept through the area last month.

In the past months, two Taiwanese ships were intercepted in New Caledonian waters fishing illegally.