Chinese boat facing Tahiti court for marine pollution

3:23 pm on 5 June 2019

A Chinese fishing company and the captain of one its boats will face the court in French Polynesia for alleged marine pollution.

The Xin Shi Ji 203

The Xin Shi Ji 203 Photo: Facebook/ Polynésie Libre : Fa'ati'amā Pōrīnetia

Last month, the fishing boat Xin Shi Ji203 was intercepted off Tahiti after airline pilots reported seeing a long slick emanating from the boat.

The prosecutor said an investigation has established that the captain discharged about 450 litres of liquids, including fuel, from the boat tank which lacked the required filters.

He said marine police noticed a strong smell of fuel when they seized the vessel.

The fishing company reportedly paid a $US350,000 bond last week for the Xin Shi Ji 203 to be allowed to leave the port of Papeete.

The court hearing has been set for 14 January.

If found guilty, the captain could be up jailed for up to 10 years and the company fined of up to $US18 million.

Papeete is a key port for the Chinese fishing fleet offloading its catch from the southeastern Pacific.