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ASG has contracted company to remove grounded vessel off Leone

USCG personnel and grounded vessel

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Speaking at a Senate session last week, Sen. Fai’ivae Iuli Godinet said the government has contracted a company to start removing a fishing vessel which has been grounded on the reef off Leone since early last year.

The Fofo senator said the contractor is to begin work in May this year, and this was revealed during a recent meeting between the Leone Village Council and ASG agencies, including the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources and the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency.

This is great news for Leone villagers and leaders who have voiced concerns over the long delay of the removal of the 88-foot commercial fishing vessel Chui Zai Fa No. 1, grounded just before Tropical Storm Gita hit Tutuila in February 2018.

The US Coast Guard said at the time that the Taiwanese-flagged vessel reportedly caught fire Nov. 4, 2017 in international waters, prompting the crew to abandon ship into a life raft. They were rescued by the crew of a Korean-flagged vessel, transferred to a sister fishing vessel, and eventually disembarked in Fiji. 

The vessel then drifted and grounded on the reef off Leone in early February 2018.