International News

Oil Spill threat in American Samoa

By Samantha Semoso – EM TV Online

A Taiwanese-flagged longliner ran aground on the reef of Coconut Point, American Samoa, on Friday with 4,000 litres of fuel and 75 tonnes of fish on board.

Monica Miller, a correspondent from Radio New Zealand says “there’s increasing threat oil will leak from a three foot hole in the vessel’s hull, as efforts to salvage the boat are being hampered by bad weather.”

Investigations by the coastguard are still ongoing as to what really happened.

However, some information that was given at a briefing was that the captain might have fallen asleep because of the bad weather and rough seas on Friday, and by the time he woke up the boat was already on the reef. 

All 22 crew members on board made it to shore safely with minor scratches and bruises.

Some of the residents of Coconut Point on Nuuli were able to help the crew get to shore safely.

“But the biggest concern now is an oil spill threat and the fish which the coastguard says is largely contaminated,” says Monica.

As for the vessel itself, it’s lying on the reef on its port side and there’s a three foot gap in the fibre glass hull.

The coastguard says that “it’s unlikely that it will be salvaged in one piece”.

Two Honolulu coastguards are here, and they’re just trying to see what the best is to handle this so that something can be done before the vessel actually breaks and there will be more problems with that.

A notice has been put out to the people to stay away from the vessel as there have been reports of people sighted, trying to get fish or equipment from the ship.

There are a lot of lines in the vessel and accidents may occur, or there maybe situations where patrol boats will have to go out and rescue people.

So far, the seas are still quite rough and more bad weather is expected.

Waves at the moment are up to 15 feet.

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