Ship on fire in Antarctica: Crew of 97 rescued
Ship on fire in Antarctica: A Chinese factory fishing ship caught fire Wednesday just off the coast of Antarctica and 97 crew members were rescued. The ship did not sink.
(AP Photo/Chile's Air Force)
A Chinese factory fishing ship caught fire Wednesday just off the coast of Antarctica and 97 crew members were rescued by a nearby Norwegian vessel as Chile's military mobilized to prevent any environmental damage.
The crew members abandoned the burning Kai Xin and were taken aboard the Juvel about 34 miles (55 kilometers) from Chile's Bernardo O'Higgins research base near the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula, Chilean officials said.
The ship was not immediately at risk of sinking, and nearby vessels could tow it away from the Antarctic coast if necessary, officials said.
Capt. Juan Marcelo Villegas, maritime governor for Chile's portion of Antarctica, told The Associated Press that Chile's navy could send a tugboat from Punta Arenas, near the southern tip of South America, to tow the ship to harbor as long as it remained seaworthy.
Chile's air force was preparing a second flight for Thursday to check on the vessel's condition. The Kai Xin left port in Uruguay and Chilean officials did not know how much fuel it was carrying, Villegas said.
"At the moment the weather conditions are pretty favorable. There's little wind and the ocean conditions are good, so, for the moment, there's no imminent risk of sinking," Villegas said.
China's Panamanian-flagged Skyfrost ship was approaching the area and would be able to take on the rescued sailors, he said.