The Taiwanese fishing vessel FV CHUAN I SHIN with eleven crew on board yesterday ran aground on Beveridge Reef, 125 nautical miles south-east of Niue.
In a press release at midday today, the government announced that the priority is to rescue the eleven crew members on board the vessel.
The government had requested aerial surveillance of the situation and this morning a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules flew up from New Zealand.
New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue Helen Tunnah told BCN News that the C-130 Hercules flew over Beveridge Reef this morning and this afternoon is on its way back to New Zealand.
“The Hercules flight to Beveridge is to assess the situation, take pictures of the wreckage and look for evidence of oil spill. It’s not actually a part of the rescue mission”.
High Commissioner Tunnah said that the surveillance mission will send the pictures back to the Niue government.
Meanwhile, Niue government officials are this afternoon in meetings with their New Zealand counterparts to coordinate a rescue mission with New Zealand National Maritime Coordination Centre.
The Beveridge Reef is part of Niue’s marine protected area (MPA) called the Niue Nukutukulea Multiple-Use marine park.
It’s understood the officials are also meeting to discuss the legal ramifications of the vessel grounding and the reasons why it was inside the marine protected area.
Niue Meteorological Services said that the weather conditions at the Beveridge Reef area have been fine with clear skies and a swell of 2.5 metres.
The FV CHUAN I SHIN is understood to be afloat with the crew safe on board.
Government sources say that more information will be provided by the rescue authorities as details come to hand.