A French Tuna fishing vessel identified as “Avel Vor” has sunk in Liberia’s territorial water, the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) has disclosed. The vessel acquired a Liberian license to operate in the country’s waters.
A statement from NaFAA says that the vessel sunk about 180 nautical miles off the Liberian coast after it struck an unidentified underwater object.
“The vessel was on its way sailing to fishing grounds when, in the evening of October 27, it struck an unidentified underwater object,” says NaFAA.
23 crew members, including 10 Frenchmen, and a fishery observer, were saved by three other Tuna Vessels nearby.
“In the morning of October 29, 2019, it disappeared from the radar. Another tuna fishing vessel “Pendruc” remained in the area with part of the crew. At daylight, there was no trace of the ship. The Pendruc recovered floating objects that could be dangerous for navigation,” NaFAA reports.
Also, the Fisheries Monitoring Center (FMC) of NaFAA, says that the Avel Vor Vessel record 20,000 kilograms of Tuna, and like species catch on board. However, NaFAA did not tell whether they recovered the catch.
“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 report says.
Furthermore, the Fisheries Monitoring Center has established that the vessel entered the Liberian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on October 26, 2019 at 23:09:32.
Investigation on the cause of the shipwreck
NaFAA has meanwhile established based on data that the Avel Vor Vessel got hit by a yet unidentified object before entering Liberia’s territorial water.
“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 Captain to have ordered the abandonment of the vessel, according to NaFAA.