By Paul Chung
Smoke rises from the Kai Xin fishing vessel in the Southern Ocean. All 97 crew members were later rescued.
All 97 Chinese fishermen aboard a burning Chinese factory fishing ship in the Southern Ocean have been rescued. The blazing Kai Xin vessel, which had begun drifting towards sharp Antarctic glaciers, was successfully towed to Punta Arenas, Chile at the southern tip of South America.
Kai Xin, built in 1990 and operated by Shanghai Kaichuang Marine International Co Ltd, specializes in deep-sea krill fishing. While China has invested in the Arctic for the past twenty years, it is equally interested in the other pole as well.
According to Greenpeace, Kai Xin is among one of the fifty international fishing vessels authorized to fish off the Antarctic coast.
Shortly after Kai Xin caught on fire, a Norwegian trawler in the vicinity arrived at the scene to rescue all 97 fishermen. Hours later, a Chilean military tugboat towed the abandoned vessel back to the Chilean coast, narrowly escaping an ecological disaster in the Southern Ocean.
Will this rescue story possibly mend Beijing’s glacial attitude towards Oslo in the wake of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize? If 97 survivors are not compelling enough, then we have no idea what is.