Fishing vessel runs aground on reef in Yap

Yap State Department of Youth & Civic Affairs

Colonia, Yap. 9/18/2020. Around 2:00am on Thursday, September 17, 2020, a fishing boat operated by Liancheng Overseas Fishery Co., Ltd and owned by Huang, Shau-Chou went aground at the mouth of Peelaek Channel near Gagil and Tomil in Yap with nine crew members on board. No injuries were reported but the vessel was taking on water, according to Paul Ayin, General Manager of the Yap Fishing Authority, who received the first call.

Following established Covid-19 protocols, to minimize contact, the crew transferred themselves to their life raft and were towed to safety where they disembarked at YFA dock into a cordoned off section of the dock on the eastern side of Colonia.

At this time, it is reported that there is no spill of any type of hazardous materials, but the boat has 4,000 to 5,000 gallons of fuel on board. A salvage team is transferring the fuel into containers to minimize the risk of a spill. In addition, there is an estimated 4 tons of catch on board.

A team from the Department of Health Services wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) performed Covid-19 testing and other related procedures. Yap has no cases of Covid-19 and is taking every precaution to ensure the public's safety. Temporary housing has been set up to isolate them from the general public near the old YFTI facility. The departure date of the captain and crew is pending the completion of the ongoing investigation.

Yap State Governor Henry FaIan stated, "I want to assure the citizens of Yap that everything is being done to ensure the safety and security of our island from the Covid-19 virus. We are very grateful that there were no injuries and no fuel or oil spill, but we are taking every precaution to isolate the crew and test them for the virus while preventing contact with local workers. The Health Crisis Task Force has been working for several months to prepare and contain the virus if and when it arrives. The members of the task force have been thoroughly trained and are acting quickly and efficiently alongside the other agencies to mitigate the situation."

Liancheng works with YFA to operate fishing boats from YFA's dock. The catch is flown out once a week on Asia Pacific Air. This is the second time this vessel has visited the state.

In addition to YFA and OHS, the other responding agencies are Yap State Department of Resource & Development, Office of Planning & Budget, Department Public Works & Transportation, Yap Health Crisis Task Force, Public Safety and the Environmental Protection Agency.