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MIL OSI Translation. French Polynesian to English –

Source: Government of French Polynesia

The minister of Housing, responsible for transport, inter-island, Jean-Christophe Bouissou, and the minister of Culture, in charge of the Environment, Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu, have made a point, Wednesday, on the ship that ran aground last month to Arutua.

The chinese ship “Shen Gang Shun 1” has in effect failed on the 21st of march last, on the reef flat west of the atoll of Arutua, with 250 tonnes of fuel on board, 15 tons of fish and 62 tons of bait, according to information provided by the shipowner.

The lack of accurate information and lack of expertise has led to French Polynesia to conduct its own appraisal mission that visited on-site by plane on April 18 with six people : an agent of the department of the Environment (DIREN) equipped with a drone, two divers, an engineer and a technician of a private company, as well as one expert to another private company mandated – and that is already on the dismantling of the tuna failed to Marutea Nord.

The team was able to ascertain that the vessel is stable, completely laid out on the reef between two faults. The heel of the ship is resting on the reef, and a crack was detected which is very likely escaped from the fuel. A strong smell of fuel can be felt to 150 metres around the boat. Five samples of sea water were carried out at different locations around the ship, which must now be analyzed.

The drone has found that there is an area of the reef darkened long of several tens of meters. It is not possible to say whether these findings, which have been detected on the images of the drone that on the return to Tahiti, the result of the grounding and are a direct effect of pollution, or the proliferation of brown algae on the reef flat under the effect of the shock.

In addition to 250 tons of fuel are also other dangerous products and pollutants : 22 bottles of 20 kg of R22 (the freon needed to cool rooms), large quantities of batteries and paint. The fish stock has begun its decomposition, so that the team has not been able to get down in the fish holds due to the saturation of the atmosphere by CO2. Samples were taken from the opening of the fish hold in which are about 70 tonnes of fish, catches and baits combined.

The undertow and the shallow depth of the water under the hull shall prohibit any operation consisting of the seal by the outside the hole opened by the rudder. The ship weighs 500 tonnes. The situation is technically complicated, but it is now more clear. The example of the operation of Marutea Nord, the operation of Arutua promises to be complex and heavy. It is clear from the discussion with the experts who participated in the mission, it is necessary to consider several phases, the most urgent being to limit the effects of pollution, and then to extract as quickly as possible to hazardous materials.

Three steps have been suggested during this first approach :

The first step would be establishment of a dam filtering to limit the pollution in the lagoon. This is the first step, subject to the availability of the booms, could be installed in two days and would require 48 to 72 hours of preparation. It is necessary to take into account that the lagoon of Arutua is not available to any ship, or barge.

The second step would be the extraction of the cargo of fish rotting as well as hazardous substances and polluting (gas tanks, freon, batteries, batteries and paint). Experts estimate between 3 and 4 weeks the time required to mount the operation, gather the materials, and to deploy it on-site. Once operational, they estimate that it will take between 3 and 4 weeks to extract the cargo. There will be 70 tons of fish rotting to extract the hand. Given the concentration of CO2, potentially by ammonia, the teams will not be able to stay more than two hours in the hold, even equipped with masks and suits tailored. It is necessary to provide a bearing. It will also be necessary to extract 62 tons of bait still in the carton. During this phase, the experts also suggest extract of slipways to the oils of the vessel, and the store in cubitainers on the deck of the tuna boat, in order to exclude any risk of pollution, in the expectation of being able to evacuate in the next phase.

The third step will be the extraction of the fuel, knowing that there are 250 tons of fuel on board.

Arises then the question of the fate of the wreck, its déséchouement and/or of its dismantling. But at least by then, the cargo, and the entire fluid dangerous aboard this ship will no longer represent the risk of pollution to the environment. In a period of 12 to 15 days the experts will be in a position to provide options on specific technical, feasibility and costing.

The Country has already started the procedures and warnings necessary to justice, including for the detention of protected species. The owners, whether they are local or foreign, must assume their responsibilities.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure is not be perfect.

MIL Translation OSI