Plans to re-floating a fishing vessel that sunk in Malakal are currently underway between the owner of the Kuniyoshi Fishing Company (KFC) and Surangel and Sons Construction.
A fishing vessel known as Legabil, belonging to Kuniyoshi Fishing Company sunk on July 11th and was reported to the Environmental Quality Protection Board by Koror State Rangers.
Staff from the Environmental Protection Board immediately responded by preparing oil booms along with absorbent pads and with the assistance of Koror State Rangers, the trapped oil was collected as well as debris that was afloat around the sunken vessel.
Monitoring efforts by EQPB are still being implemented until KFC submits the removal plans. Kuniyoshi Fishing Company must submit required approval forms from EQPB, Koror State Government, Department of Transportation, Malakal Commercial Port, and other relevant agencies in order for the re-floating plan to continue.
There are other fishing vessels present around Palau waters, but unlike Legabil, they have been abandoned for many years.
Director of Koror State Conservation and Law Enforcement Jennifer Olgeriil said that these fishing vessels could be potentially dangerous to the people diving within the vessels because the material could come off and entrap them.
Director Olgeriil reported that there is an on-going effort with the Department of Transportation to find the owners of the fishing vessels. None have come forward to claim the vessels.
If it comes to the point where the owners cannot be contacted, Director Olgeriil said that the national government and Koror State will work together to dispose of the vessels in the least damaging way to the environment as possible.
Sam Scott, owner of Sam’s Tour located at Malakal area said that there are abandoned vessels that have either sunk or remain idle close to his place of business.
He described the abandoned vessels as a liability and thinks that it’s an unfortunate circumstance that occurs when foreign investors don’t take care of their liability.
Sam Scott said that he wants to keep Palau waters as pristine as possible especially when tourism picks up again and is willing to work with Koror State Government to address this issue.

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