Tue, Nov 01, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Military aborts mission to sink ship


The military has decided to withdraw temporarily from a mission to sink a capsized South Korean freighter carrying a cargo of toxic benzene off Hsinchu, after conducting inter-ministry consultations, Vice Minister of National Defense Huo Shou-yeh (霍守業) said yesterday.

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) is currently working to come up with a more feasible plan to handle the capsized ship and its toxic cargo, Huo said at the Legislative Yuan.

The military will rejoin the EPA in the mission if requested to do so in the future, Huo said.

The South Korean freighter Samho Brother capsized on Oct. 10. In addition to 3,140m3 of benzene, the vessel was carrying 105 tonnes of fuel oil and diesel.

The EPA decided that the benzene aboard the South Korean ship would have to be burnt to prevent pollution.

The Ministry of National Defense discounted media reports that the combat capability of the air force and army aviation came under question after two F-16 Falcon jet fighters and one AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter failed to set the vessel alight.

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