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Araon Involves Salvage of a Pelagic Vessel in Distress

Date. 2020. 2.25.
Hit. 463

 The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF; Minister MOON, Seong-Hyeok) states that on 14 Jan. 2020, Araon , an ice-breaking research vessel, is salvaging 707 Hongjin , a pelagic fishery vessel with a breakdown of its steering gear (587 tones & 39 crew members), that has been adrift in an ice-covered area of the Antarctic ocean.


 The targeted vessel has been in limbo as its stern collided with a ice during fishing operation of toothfish (mero) at the Antarctic ocean resulting in the broken starboard.


 Its distress was reported to the MOF, after the short of attempt to repair the ship, rescue the crew and retrieve its fishing gear from Sunstar , another Korean vessel sailing back to a port from its fishing operation.

 Upon the receipt of the accident on 10 Jan. 2020, at 15:42, the MOF followed a contingency plan for the unfortunate situation and communicated with the relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior & Safety. In addition, the MOF is prepared for the related safety measures and regulation to take, after reporting the distress and delay of collecting fishing gear to countries nearby and the secretariat of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).


 In an effort to save the vessel, the MOF also requested Araon to conduct a rescue work as the accident area needed ice-breaking. The ice-breaking research vessel promptly arrived at the scene of the accident for salvage from the Armundsen Sea in the Antarctica’s Ross Sea that was 830 miles (3-day nautical miles) away, prioritizing the safety of the crew in difficulty.


 While Araon plans to take the risky vessel in tow to the safer area from ice-covered one, the shipping company will make Sunstar stand by as a contingency measure until the arrival of a tugboat.


 Araon , a 11-year-old research and supply vessel, has a checkered career in salvage: Sparta , a Russian vessel in distress from the collision with a glacier in 2011; Korean vessels, Jeongwoo 2 and Sunstar , in 2012 and 2015, respectively; and Chinese workers isolated during building their Antarctic station in Jan. 2019.



 Deputy Minister Oh, Woonyul of Marine Policy Office stated that “The ice-breaking vessel is actively engaged in rescue work when a vessel meets any distress putting the Korean nationals’ safety first, despite their main research jobs. The MOF will make an effort to build the second ice-breaking vessel with safety and quality as the current vessel, Araon , could suffer from heavy workload of research, supply and salvage together.”