24 Dec 2007

Trawler wrecked off Niue still to be removed

1:59 pm on 24 December 2007

A wrecked fishing trawler which ran aground on a reef off Niue eight months ago is yet to be removed.

The Niue Government issued a directive in October that the boat be removed because it posed an environmental threat.

The ship, the Jay Belinda, is owned by Niue's Reef Fishing which has signed a contract with underwriters, Shipowners Mutual, who are expected to tow it off the rocks and sink it in deeper water.

The Deputy Premier, Fisa Pihigia, says any salvage will now be particularly difficult because the wreck has been pushed higher on the reef.

But he says the delay in removing the wreck will not lead to a disaster.

"I believe the fuel was taken out so I don't know what is left that might cause an environmental disaster. But there won't be any disaster. It's an open sea."

Fisa Pihigia