Fri, Dec 19, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Yang Ming accuses coast guard of selling out nation

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The damage on a coast guard vessel that collided with a commercial vessel owned by Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp is pictured on May 12, 2011.

Photo: Tsao Ming-cheng, Taipei Times

A Taiwanese shipping company has accused the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) of “selling out Taiwan’s national sovereignty” by seeking judicial injunctions in China’s maritime court in litigation for damage compensation arising from a shipping collision in Taiwan’s waters.

The accident occurred on May 12, 2011, in the offshore shipping lane outside of Tainan, when the CG 126 Tainan (台南艦), a 2,105-tonne CGA patrol ship, sustained damage to its port side after colliding with the 64,254-tonne container ship YM Cypress (柏明輪), which belongs to the Keelung-based Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp (陽明海運).

As the insurance agent for CGA vessels, Taiwan Fire & Marine Insurance Co (台灣產物保險) filed a lawsuit seeking compensation from Yang Ming with the Kaohsiung District Court. However, it also filed a filed a petition to seize Yang Ming’s assets in a maritime court in China’s Guangzhou.

Angered by the move, Yang Ming sent a formal letter of complaint to the CGA, which stated in part: “The Coast Guard Administration is the highest government authority for the security of Taiwan’s coastline and territorial waters. Yet, the administration has relinquished Taiwan’s sovereignty and has chosen to pursue litigation in the maritime court of Guangzhou in China. This amounts to identifying with China for national jurisdiction.”

“Taiwan and China each have their own independent judicial systems and court rulings might have different results,” the statement said.

“In the legal proceedings, the Chinese court will request that both sides provide the ships’ blueprints, designs and internal administration data, and these will lead to national sovereignty disputes,” the statement read.

Yang Ming public relations senior manager Chen Lung-fu (陳隆富) said there was no need for Chinese judicial involvement.

In a formal letter to the CGA, Yang Ming said Taiwan Fire & Marine had filed the case at the Kaohsiung District Court in December 2011, then on Nov. 27, 2012, filed again with the Guangzhou maritime court in an attempt to seize the assets of YM Cypress, which was docked in the city at the time.

In response, a CGA official said the case was filed by Taiwan Fire & Marine to protect its own business interests and request compensation on behalf of the client through a subrogation receipt, which it was legally entitled to do under a clause in its contract.

“The matter is in accordance within the law, as the insurance company filed the litigation to its benefit for compensation and there is nothing wrong with that,” the official said.

As to the CGA being asked to provide nautical charts, ship’s logbook and other data, he said no national security issues were infringed upon.

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