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Sat, Feb 17, 2001 - Page 4 News List

Soldiers complete first stage of oil spill cleanup

CNA , PINGTUNG

The first stage of the cleanup of the oil spill that has contaminated parts of the Lungkeng Ecological Conservation Preservation Area in southern Taiwan was completed yesterday with the help of the army.

The first stage of the cleanup was completed at noon, with 6,395 soldiers and local cleanup workers involved in the task. A total of 404.6 tonnes of oil has been collected to date.

At least 1,150 tonnes of oil has leaked from the sunken Greek freighter MV Amorgos into waters near the coast of Kenting National Park in southern Taiwan since the ship ran aground Jan. 14.

Lin Jun-yi (林俊義), head of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), said the first stage of the cleanup was directed at contaminated waters within the coastal cave area. He said the waters in the area have been made cleaner by the efforts but added that there is still a chance that small amounts of oil floating on the water's surface might end up on the shore or become affixed to the area's coral reefs.

The second stage of the cleanup work will begin after Lin meets with experts today to talk about the technical problems regarding further cleanup efforts.

Meanwhile, Lin said at a press conference yesterday that the Coast Guard and Command Administration, the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau and a fishery association investigated the southern bay area immediately after a reported sighting of oil in the area. However, no oil pollution was found, Lin confirmed.

Fishermen working the area also said that oil has not polluted the southern bay area.

The chairman and deputy chairman of the fishery association in the Pingtung region, Chu Ping-ho (朱平和) and Wu Chin-hui (吳清輝), also reiterated that the southern bay area has not been contaminated at all.

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