AUSTRALIAN SCHOONER SHIPWRECKS RESCUED OFF CHESTERFIELD ISLANDS

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NOUMEA, New Caledonia (August 17, 2000 – Oceania Flash/SPC)---Four Australians aboard the schooner Mundaca were rescued last Saturday near the Chesterfield Islands (northwest of New Caledonia), the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The schooner left Fiji last week and was en route to Australia when it ran aground in the Chesterfield group last Friday.

The skipper sent distress signals, which were picked up by the New Caledonian Coast Guard, which engaged the Sea Rescue Center.

The four Australians were rescued Saturday morning by captain Dumont d'Urville and the crew of the ship Sofrana.

The vessel, on its way to Melbourne, was re-routed after a joint operation was mounted by Australian and French authorities.

The four Australians are reported to be in good condition.

 

NEW CALEDONIA A POPULAR YACHTING STOP

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (August 17, 2000 – Oceania Flash/SPC)---Latest statistics show a record 64 yachts stopping over last month, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

Marine officials here said the high number of passing yachts (40 percent more than in July last year) is mainly due to a series of regional events, such as Auckland's America Cup.

Another factor is political unrest in Fiji, which they said chased a number of yachts out of the neighboring troubled island state.

They predict the popularity with Noumea could be sustained over the next few months, as a result of the Sydney Olympics in September and the Pacific Arts Festival, due to start on October 23 in New Caledonia.

The total number of visiting yachts since the beginning of this year has now reached 245, compared to only 158 as at July 31st last year.

 

180 NEW CALEDONIAN PILGRIMS ON THEIR WAY TO ROME

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (August 17, 2000 – Oceania Flash/SPC)---Some 180 young Catholic pilgrims from New Caledonia are on their way to Rome to take part in the 15th World Youth Days, coinciding with the Roman Catholic Church's Jubilee 2000, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

They are joining French Pacific delegations from Wallis and Futuna and French Polynesia and from other Pacific areas.

The New Caledonians, the second biggest Pacific delegation after Australia, are from Kanak and European ethnic groups.

They are currently stopping over for a few days in Paris, where they are being hosted by the Paris-based Church of Oceania.

The Jubilee 2000 celebration is expected to bring together about one million pilgrims from around the world.

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