Response operations for grounded fishing vessel in American Samoa suspended due to TC Gita

The 88-foot commercial fishing vessel Chui Zai Fa No. 1 grounded about 300-yards off Leone Bay, American Samoa, Feb. 8, 2018. The owner of the Chui Zai Fa No. 1, is the responsible party and is actively working with Coast Guard officials and local authorities to develop a salvage plan for the grounded fishing vessel. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer John Ng/Released)

The 88-foot commercial fishing vessel Chui Zai Fa No. 1 grounded about 300-yards off Leone Bay, American Samoa, Feb. 8, 2018. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer John Ng)

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — The Coast Guard, owner of the vessel and local authorities have suspended response operations, Friday for the grounding of the 88-foot commercial fishing vessel Chui Zai Fa No. 1, located approximately 300-yards off Leone Bay until Tropical Cyclone Gita has passed American Samoa and safe weather conditions return.

The owner of the Chui Zai Fa No. 1, is the responsible party and is actively working with Coast Guard officials and local authorities to develop a salvage plan for the grounded fishing vessel.

The 88-foot fishing vessel is currently aground in the surf zone and split in half with the bow and stern portions sitting side by side.

The Chui Zai Fa No. 1 is estimated to hold approximately 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel based on the estimated total tank and fish hold capacity. Light sheening has been reported around the vessel. Oil spill response equipment has been deployed to mitigate impacts from any potential spill.

With the arrival of Tropical Storm Gita scheduled to begin affecting the island Friday, operations have been temporarily been put on hold for safety concerns and will resume immediately once the storm has passed.

The site immediately around the vessel and the vessel itself are dangerous. It is in a heavy surf zone and the structure of the vessel is compromised. Non-response personnel should remain clear of the vessel and surrounding area.

The Taiwanese-flagged vessel reportedly caught fire Nov. 4, 2017, in international waters prompting the crew to abandon ship into a life raft and were rescued by the crew of a Korean-flagged vessel, transferred to a sister fishing vessel and eventually disembarked in Fiji. The master of the Chu Zai Fa No. 1 and one crewmember reportedly remain missing. The Chu Zai Fa No. 1 remained adrift until its grounding Monday.

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