French Polynesia to explore salvage options of Chinese ship on reef

10:01 pm on 16 April 2020

The French Polynesian government says it will make an assessment of how to deal with a Chinese fishing vessel which ran aground on the reef of Arutua atoll in the Tuamotus last month.

Arutua atoll in French Polynesia

Arutua atoll in French Polynesia Photo: Google maps

Initial reports said the hull of the longliner Shen Gang Shun 1 had a small crack which posed a risk for the environment.

The government said while the ship owner's insurance company had hired an expert to draw up a salvage plan, it didn't give details of how the fuel and the cargo would be removed.

The government said a mission to the site would determine what the options were and how to proceed.

The ship had been repaired and restocked in Papeete in mid-March and left the port with 15 tonnes of frozen fish on board along with 26 tonnes of bait.

An inspection of the stranded vessel revealed it had a large quantity of sharks in its hold.

The government made no comment about the find except to say there was no poaching in French Polynesia's waters which were the world's largest shark sanctuary.

However a complaint had been lodged by the environmental umbrella organisation Te Ora Naho with the public prosecutor for a breach of the environment law which prohibited the possession or transport of a protected species in French Polynesia.

Shark bodies stitched up with cut-off fins inside them.

Shark bodies stitched up with cut-off fins inside them. Photo: Te Ora Naho FB

  • Complaint in French Polynesia against Chinese ship for breaching sanctuary
  • Frozen shark find in Chinese ship in sanctuary alarms Tahiti group
  • Shark cargo in Chinese ship stirs debate in Tahiti