The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) has disclosed that a Liberian-licensed French tuna fishing vessel ‘Avel Vor’ has sunk some 180 nautical miles off Liberia’s coast.
The vessel was on its way to fishing grounds when, in the evening of October 27 it struck an unidentified underwater object last week, the NaFAA said in a release Thursday.
The release said that 23 crew members, including ten Frenchmen and a fishery observer, were saved by three other tuna fishing vessels.
According to the NaFAA, the hull of the vessel was breached, thereby enabling water to flood the engine room and the ship’s pumps became incapable of controlling water ingress and as a result, the Captain ordered his 23 crew members to abandon the vessel.
The entry report received by the Fisheries Monitoring Center (FMC) of NaFAA further disclosed that 20,000 kg of tuna and tuna-like species were on board the French tuna vessel.
The NaFAA said the Avel Vor experienced a leakage in the night of October 27 in the Gulf of Guinea, 315 kilometers off the coast of Liberia, following water ingress in the engine room which could not be brought under control.
The NaFAA release further stated that three days after the vessel had sailed from Abidjan and was headed towards its fishing ground, some crew members heard a sound on the hull that could be a shock to an unidentified floating object.
The bilge alarm of the engine room was triggered, and it flooded rapidly, so that the pumps could not cope with the incoming water, leading the Capitan to have ordered abandonment of the vessel.
All day long on October 28, tug with additional pumps and a diver team was awaited eagerly, while the Avel Vor continued to sink slowly.
In the early morning of October 29, it disappeared from the radar and another tuna fishing vessel “Pendruc” remained in the area with part of the crew but at daylight there was no trace of the ship.
The Pendruc recovered floating objects that could be dangerous for navigation.
Meanwhile, analysis done at the Liberia Fisheries Monitoring Center established that the vessel entered the Liberian Exclusive Economic Zone on October 26, 2 at 23:09:32 UTC at the position Lat. 2° 8′ 46″ N.