Posted on May 14, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
The Chinese fishing vessel, Xin Shi Ji 203 was detained on May the 12th in the port of Papeete, French Polynesia due to the ship allegedly flushing out its tanks while transiting north of Tahiti.
The vessel is suspected of having caused hydrocarbon pollution off Point Venus, near the northern coast of Tahiti and will be detained at port pending the end of the investigation.
According to initial reports, on May the 12th, the crews of two commercial aircraft flying overhead observed the spill left behind by the Xin Shi Ji 203 and relayed the information to Tahiti-Faa’a airport’s air control tower.
At approximately 15:00 on the same day, JRCC Tahiti was informed of an oil slick forming some three nautical miles off the municipality of Arue.
The Xin Shi Ji 203 was stopped half an hour later and was escorted back to Papeete.
The Captain of the fishing vessel has denied all accusations, suggesting that the oil had not been disposed of deliberately.
The slick up to that point had been seen drifting some eight kilometres from Tahiti, north of Moorea.
On Monday morning, a helicopter and a naval boat were sent to the scene in order to spot the spill.
Police officers on board the naval vessel took samples of the slick that had been floating in the water.
The local prosecutor’s office has opened a judicial inquiry into the event.