State-run oil refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan was slapped with a NT$1 million (US$33,483) fine by the Greater Kaohsiung Government’s Marine Bureau yesterday for an incident the previous night in which pipelines pumping aromatic resin to a hauler broke apart, spilling 1.63 tonnes inside harbor waters.
The incident also caused 964 residents in nearby areas to visit hospitals on account of feeling sick, vomiting or having difficulty breathing. The most severely affected patients were cleared by doctors to go home by yesterday morning.
The city government fined CPC for violating the Marine Pollution Control Act (海洋污染防治法).
CPC’s Cianjhen storage unit director Lai Chia-lu (賴嘉祿) said the company was also a victim in the incident, but added that it would own up to its responsibility.
Lai also extended his apologies to the area’s residents on behalf of the company.
The city government’s fire department said the Hong Kong-based hauler Tiger Winter berthed by pier 62 to receive its shipment of aromatic resin from CPC Corp’s Cianjhen District (前鎮) storage center, for delivery to China.
However, the oil line split apart during pumping, causing the resin to spill into the sea and spread to pier 61, the fire department said.
Taiwan International Ports Corp’s Kaohsiung office, the city government’s Marine Bureau and Tiger Winter’s owner were immediately informed of the spill, and they attempted to contain the damage by encircling the spillage with oil-absorbent cotton.
The spillage odor spread to Cijin District (旗津) and was mistaken by some residents for gas leaks, following recent gas pipeline explosions in the area.
The explosions, occurring late on July 31 and early Aug. 1 in Cianjhen District, killed 30 people, with 310 injured and billions in damage to property.
Additional reporting by Huang Chia-lin