Oil spill concern in American Samoa
There's concern up to 4,000 litres of fuel and 75 tonnes of fish could be spilled into the ocean in American Samoa where a longliner ran aground in bad weather.
There is concern up to 4,000 litres of fuel and 75 tonnes of fish could be spilled into the ocean in American Samoa where a longliner ran aground.
The Taiwanese-flagged vessel hit the reef off Coconut Point on Friday, leaving its crew with minor cuts and scratches.
Our correspondent Monica Miller says there's an 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.
MONICA MILLER: The coastguard is still investigating what exactly happened. But some of the information that was given at a briefing was that the captain may have fallen asleep, and by the time he woke up, because this was really, really, there was bad weather, rough seas on Friday, by the time he woke up the boat was already on the reef, and luckily all 22 members, crew members on board, made it to shore safely, they suffered minor scratches, some of the residents of Coconut Point in Nuuli were able to help them get to shore safely. The biggest concerns now are a oil spill threat, there's between 500 and 1000 gallons of fuel on board, and there's also concern that some of the catch of 75 tonnes that is on board that people will think that the fish they are seeing in the ocean is okay to eat. But the coastguard says that the fish is largely contaminated.
MARY BAINES: There's a threat of an oil spill, but there hasn't been anything that we know of yet?
MM: Well, as far as 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 was saying that it's unlikely that it can be salvaged in one piece. Now the two members from Honolulu coastguard are here, and they're just trying to see what's the best way to handle this so that something can be done before the vessel actually breaks up in bad weather and then there will be you know more problems with that.
MB: So there is 75 tonnes of fish from the boat floating around in the ocean?
MM: Not all of it, but some of it. And the coastguard has put out a notice to people to please stay away from the vessel because there have already been incidents where people have been seen going around that site, where the vessel is on the reef. And that some may be trying to get some fish, or some of the equipment. But there's a lot of lines in the vessel and the coastguard doesn't want a situation where they will also have to you know, and the marine patrol will also have to go out and rescue people who make their way out there.
MB: So there's really bad weather hampering salvaging the longliner?
MM: Yes, well that's what the coastguard said yesterday. So far the seas are still quite rough and there's expected to be more bad weather - waves of up to 15 feet.
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