Wed, Dec 13, 2006 - Page 2 News List

EPA wants ship's wreckage removed by April next year

HAZARD The EPA said that although there were only 87 tonnes of banana oil and 4 tonnes of fuel oil left on the ship, the wreckage posed a risk

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Environmental Protection Administration said yesterday that the owner of an Indonesia-registered cargo ship sunk off Taiwan's coast must remove the wreckage by April next year.

Loaded with 1,000 tonnes of banana oil and 30 tonnes of other oil products, the Dewi Bunyu was wrecked near Taipei Port in July.

Hsu Jen-tse (許仁澤), chief of the administration's marine pollution prevention section, said yesterday that the ship's owner informed the administration last month that there were only 87 tonnes of banana oil and 4 tonnes of fuel oil left on the ship. There was no immediate threat to the marine environment, he said, adding that banana oil is soluble in water.

The administration has used unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor the wreckage. Their records show that shortly after the accident only a minor oil spill occurred. The ship's owner has employed a third party to help clean up the mess, Hsu said.

However, since floating wreckage might endanger other vessels, the administration has instructed the company to clean up the area as soon as possible.

As the sea is calmer in the spring, which should help facilitate the clean-up process, the administration decided to set an April deadline.

The administration said it has spent NT$3 million (US$92,370) handling the incident and expects to be reimbursed by the the owner of the Dewi Dunyu.

A far more damaging spill occurred when an estimated 1,150 tonnes of oil spilled into the sea after the Amorgos ran aground near Kenting on its way to China on Jan. 14, 2001.

The spillage contaminated coastal areas in Oluanpi and damaged nearby coral reefs.

The failure of the administration to cope adequately with that shipwreck and the oil spillage led to the removal of former administrator Lin Jun-yi (林俊義).

Lin was replaced by Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who last Saturday was elected Taipei mayor.

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