Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Chile rushes to aid ship in Antarctica

19 April 2013, 08:36

Santiago - A Chilean military tugboat was heading to Antarctica on Thursday to prevent an environmental disaster by retrieving a Chinese fishing ship that caught fire and began to drift dangerously near sharp glaciers.

The Kai Xin vessel burned off the coast of Antarctica on Wednesday. Its 97 crew members were rescued by the Juvel, a Norwegian ship, about 55km from Chile's Bernardo O'Higgins research base near the Antarctic Peninsula.

The Kai Xin is now unmanned, and a navy tugboat left port in Punta Arenas, near the southern tip of South America, to tow the ship to harbour.

"The ship has been drifting in zigzags and circles at about 5 knots per hour. It's very close to glaciers and we've sent the tugboat in case it hits the coast causing an oil spill," said Capt. Juan Villegas, maritime governor for Chile's portion of Antarctica.

The Kai Xin left port in Uruguay and Chilean officials don't know how much fuel it's carrying. Fog forced Chile's air force to cancel a flight on Thursday to check on its condition.

"The ship seems in good condition from the photos we've seen," Villegas told The Associated Press. "The fire seems to have taken place at the engines and there's no risk of sinking."

Deep-sea fishing

A Panamanian-flagged Chinese ship, Skyfrost, also was nearing the area to help tow the ship, he said.

Officials at Olympic Seafood AS, owner of the Juvel, said they were part of the rescue of the Kai Xin, but downplayed their role.

"Yes, we took the Chinese crew onto our ship. Of course, we help people who are in distress," said Even T Remoey, the sales and marketing director of Olympic Seafood, based in Fosnavaag, a western Norwegian coastal town.

The 104m Chinese vessel was built in 1990, according to the website of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

The Kai Xin is operated by Shanghai Kaichuang Marine International Co, a company that specialises in deep-sea fishing, fisheries products and processing. The ship uses pelagic trawling for fishing and can sail in loose pack ice, according to the commission.

Officials at Shanghai Kaichuang, a state company ultimately owned by the Shanghai government, confirmed in a phone interview that the crew had been safely transferred to other vessels.

Fire aboard ship

They referred further queries to a statement issued on the Shanghai Securities News website, which serves as an official channel for announcements by Chinese-listed companies.

The statement posted Thursday said a fire occurred while the ship was fishing and that Kaichuang will investigate the cause of the accident and the extent of the damage before releasing more details.

The environmental group Greenpeace has said that the Chinese ship is part of an international fleet of about 50 vessels authorised by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources to fish off the Antarctic coast.

Greenpeace said the ship has authorisation to fish for krill.

China's krill market is growing due to strong demand for its use in fishmeal as well as medical and dietary products.

Greenpeace opposes Antarctic fishing for krill, saying it can affect the ecosystem because it is a pillar of the entire ocean's food chain.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...