Salvage plan approved for Chinese ship stuck in French Polynesia

7:21 pm on 7 May 2020

Operations are about to begin in French Polynesia to salvage a Chinese fishing vessel grounded at Arutua atoll.

Shen Gang Shun 1 stuck on reef of Arutua

Shen Gang Shun 1 stuck on reef of Arutua Photo: supplied

The ship, Shen Gang Shun 1, ran onto the reef on 21 March with 250 tonnes of fuel and about 70 tonnes of fish on board, including shark fins whose possession or transport in French Polynesia is illegal.

The authorities approved a rescue plan submitted by the owner Shenzhen Shengang Overseas Industrial Company after the court last week threatened the company with a daily $US5000 fine for inaction.

Under a plan drawn up by a local company TMP, a government ship Tahiti Nui 1 has been sent to Aratua to pump the fuel out of the stranded ship.

According to local television, the ship's crane is then to uplift gas canisters and batteries.

The company TSP has been hired to extract the rotting fish from the hold and once packaging has been removed, it will be tossed out at sea.

The plan is to use the two tug boats Aito Nui et le Aito 2 to try to pull the empty vessel off the reef.

When the ship ran aground, the French rescue helicopter uplifted the crew who then left French Polynesia on board of other fishing vessels owned by Shenzhen Shengang.

Last week, the French Polynesian government sent a catamaran with 400 metres of spill containment barriers to Arutua to contain any possible fuel leak.

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