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4 Dead After Nearly New Chinese Tuna Vessel Sinks In South Pacific

Four people are reported dead and another four missing after Chinese flagged tuna longliner, Zhong Yang 26, capsized in the South Pacific just months after completing construction in a Chinese shipyard.

Heavy winds and waves up to 3-4 meters high are said to have been the cause of the incident, taking the 37 meter long and seven meter wide vessel out of control, throwing some of the crew members overboard into the dangerous water conditions.

The vessel, owned by Shenzhen Shuiwan Pelagic Fisheries, was reported to have capsized 48 kilometers off Rapa Iti Island, French Polynesia, with 14 crew members on board. The French Polynesia’s Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre said that six people were rescued by helicopter from the boat. A military Guardian jet spotted the capsized boat with the survivors gathered on the side.

The ship was built in 2012 by Huanghain shipbuilder, Rongcheng, China and has a gross tonnage of 317. The local authorities have started a search and rescue operation for the missing crew men, occupying the area with two boats and a helicopter.

The longliner was said to be in good condition and all technology was checked before it left the port. The vessel is listed under the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission as a ship that is authorized or known to fish for tunas and tuna-like species in the eastern Pacific Ocean.