Taiwanese Longliner Goes Aground on Mauritius' Saint Brandon Shoal
Another Taiwanese longliner ran aground on the territory of Mauritius last week, marking the fourth time that a vessel from Taiwan's distant-water tuna fleet has found its way onto the country's shores this year.
The vessel, identifiable from the call sign on its hull (BH3089), is the Taiwanese-flagged Yu Feng 67. She lost power on December 5 off the coast of Saint Brandon, an area of sand banks and shoals about 215 miles to the northeast of Mauritius.
Mauritius' coast guard spotted the vessel in distress by AIS when it was about one nm off the shore, according to local media. A maritime patrol aircraft was dispatched to investigate, and it spotted the vessel aground and listing to starboard. No one aboard responded to a VHF hail, according to the aircrew.
Servicemembers with the National Coast Guard arrived that afternoon and helped all 20 of the crewmembers of the Yu Feng 67 to disembark. The Mauritian National Coast Guard cutter CGS Barracuda picked them up and brought them back to Port Louis, on the main island, for questioning and processing.
The Yu Feng 67 is believed to have about 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel aboard, and defueling will be a salvage priority. The Barracuda's crew installed containment boom before they departed, and they left behind a monitoring crew.
The Yu Feng 67 is owned by Lee Tsang Fishery Co. Ltd. of Kaohsiung, according to registration records. The death of an Indonesian fisherman was reported aboard the vessel by Greenpeace and the Indonesian Migrant Workers' Union (SBMI) in 2020.
In February, no less than three Taiwanese fishing vessels ran aground on the same day near Pointe-aux-Sables, Mauritius, near Port Louis. The vessel Wen Hang Dar 168 was the first to go aground, followed shortly by the Foo Man Yu Feng 1 and the Foo Man Yu Weng 168, which both ran onto a sandbank at nearby Bain-des-Dames. The operators blamed the incident on rough weather.