Salvage Company To Remove Abandoned Cruise Ship From Palau

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Philippines company to take possession of Chinese ‘Xian Ni’

By Jose Rodriguez T. Senase

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Oct. 5, 2015) – A salvage company from the Philippines has entered into a contract with the Palau Government to remove and dispose of an abandoned Chinese cruise ship that has been in Palau waters since November last year.

Attorney General John Bradley, in a phone interview yesterday, said Fahrenheit has entered into an agreement with the Palau Government to remove "Xian Ni".

Bradley said that under the agreement, Fahrenheit will pay $200,000 to the Palau Government.

"They already gave Palau $100,00.The remaining balance will be given to the government once they are ready to leave with the boat," he stated.

Bradley said they are only awaiting a court judgment that will turn over the vessel to the Filipino company.

"I think in a couple of weeks the vessel will be removed from Palauan waters," he said.

According to another source, a five-man crew from the Philippines is already in Palau ready to remove the vessel.

Bradley said it is likely that that Fahrenheit will bring the vessel to the Philippines, dismantle it, and sell it as scrap metal.

He said the company has two options, either to bring a tugboat to tow the vessel or repair its engines for it run on its own engines.

But the source said the plan is to repair and refurbish the vessel and bring it into service again in the Philippines.

The Palau Supreme Court has earlier issued a ruling forfeting the vessel in favor of the Palau Government.

The "Xian Ni" has been in Palau waters for nearly a year now.

It arrived in Palau in mid-November 2014, triggering surprise and speculations, including rumors that it will be used as a floating casino/hotel.

Immediately after the vessel arrived, its crew departed Palau on a commercial flight, leaving it behind.

The vessel was in a state of disrepair when it arrived in Palau and has since been anchored near the Rock Islands, which is Palau’s premier tourist destination.

The vessel remained in Palau’s waters after the provisional registration issued to her expired. Attempts have been made to have the owners of the ship remove it, but those attempts have failed.

This led to the Palau Government filing a complaint against the vessel and its owners. The Verified Complaint in Libel for Condemnation and Forfeiture was filed at the Palau Supreme Court on February 13, 2015.

The vessel was reportedly owned by China Regal Cruises International Co., Ltd, China-American Low Carbon Energy Fund, and Chinese-American businessman Allen Jin Zhang. The trio were named as Defendants in the case.

The "Xian Ni" previously plied the Yangtze River in China as a tourist cruise ship.

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