Chinese freighter runs aground on Japanese coral reef

Chinese general cargo ship Xin Hai Zhou 2 (IMO 9507104) ran aground on a giant coral reef just off the Japanese island of Ishigaki, an outpost in Okinawa Prefecture that is located about 125nm east of Taiwan.

The vessel became disabled early in the morning of January 24th local time and drifted aground between Ishigaki Island and Kohama Island, Okinawa Prefecture waters. The ship requested assistance at 09:05 and then reported grounding at 09:30 Tokyo time on January 24th. It was decided to evacuate the crew.

A Japan Coast Guard helicopter was sent to rescue the crew. From 13:00 hours bystanders on shore filmed the rescue operation as the aircrew hoisted up Xin Hai Zhou’s 19 crewmembers. No injuries were reported.

The ship remained aground. It had been en route from Dumai, Indonesia (departed January 8th)to Yokkaichi Japan (ETA January 31st).

According to NHK, Xin Hai Zhou 2’s location was at the edge of Sekisei Lagoon, the largest coral reef in Japan. The area is known for its reefs, diving destinations and seaside resorts. No pollution was reported, but any fuel spills from the vessel could have a disproportionate impact if they occurred. Video from the scene showed powerful waves battering the ship’s hull as it rested on the reef.

2008-built, Panama-flagged (Marine Traffic information) 8,461 gt Xin Hai Zhou 2 is owned by China Huarong Financial of Zhejiang, China. It is managed by Ningbo Haizhou Shipping Co Ltd of Ningbo, Zhejiang, China. It is entered with London Club on behalf of Ningbo Haizhou Shipping Co. No AIS since January 18th, when the vessel was underway off the Philippines.