Chinese Fish Carrier Aground on Deserted Island in the Marshall Islands

fish carrier aground in marshall island
The 308-foot Chinese-flagged commercial fish carrier sits aground on Taka Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands Jan. 3, 2019, with 24 crew aboard. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

A Chinese fish carrier with 24 crew is aground on an uninhabited atoll in the Marshall Islands.

The ship, identified as the 308-foot Chinese-flagged commercial fishing carrier Ou Ya Leng No. 6, ran aground Wednesday on Taka Atoll.

Maritime Rescue Coordination Center China personnel notified the U.S. Coast Guard at 4:15 a.m. of a fishing vessel taking on water 180 nautical miles (207 statute miles) northeast of Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Initial reports from MRCC China stated the crew abandoned ship and were on the atoll. However, a U.S. Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules crew has since arrived and confirmed they are aboard the vessel and using emergency generator power.

There are no reports of injuries or pollution.

fish carrier aground in marshall islands
The 308-foot Chinese-flagged commercial fish carrier sits aground on Taka Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands Jan. 3, 2019, with 24 crew aboard. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

Two fishing vessels are en route and expected to arrive Thursday. The Republic of the Marshall Islands has also dispatched their patrol vessel Lomor to respond.

It is unknown at this time the cause of the incident, the nationality of the crew and disposition of any cargo or fuel, the Coast Guard said.

“Our first concern continues to be for the 24 crew on the vessel, and we are working with our partners to effect a rescue,” said Brendon Ritz of JRCC Honolulu.

Weather in the area is reportedly 11-foot seas with 25 mph winds, forecast increase to 14-foot seas with increasing winds.

The Ou Ya Leng No. 6 is reportedly a fish carrier targeting squid in the Western and Central Pacific Fishing Commission area before entering territorial waters of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

The Hercules crew came from Wake Island where they were previously involved in the Sincerity Ace case since Monday. Their home base is Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point in Hawaii.

Taka Atoll, also known as Toke Atoll, is a small, uninhabited coral atoll in the Ratak Chain of the Marshall Islands and is roughly triangular made up of six small islands with an area of less than a square mile and lagoon in the center. Around 400 people inhabit nearby Utirik Atoll. The Republic of the Marshall Islands is located near the equator and slightly west of the International Date Line. Its total population of about 53,000 people live across the nation’s 29 coral atolls with Majuro as the capital.