Planet China

Ship ahoy

Finder’s keepers is a popular expression in English, and in the case of fisherman Lin Jinyong, he thought he’d made a pretty spectacular find: a 3,026 tonne ship. According to Xinhua, Lin found the abandoned vessel while fishing in the seas off Guangdong. He and his companions boarded the ship and found that like the Mary Celeste there was no one on board (nor any sign of cargo). Lin’s team then spent six days using their boats to tow the ship back to harbour in Huangqi, with the goal of selling it. However, a fortnight after the ship appeared in port, an agent representing the ship’s owner appeared and informed the authorities that the vessel had been built in Nanjing but had been lost in a major storm in May as it was being tugged to Indonesia. With the loss having occurred near Hong Kong, the owner had informed its maritime bureau and after consulting with the insurance company had unsuccessfully searched for it in the South China Sea. CCTV says that – having filed proof of ownership documents with the authorities – the ship’s owner plans to reclaim the ship, which is currently in Fujian. As the state broadcaster comments: “Lin and the fishermen have lost out on a lucrative opportunity, but they did a good thing.”


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