Wed, Sep 21, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Bureau to finish oil spill cleanup within one week

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Stranded Chinese container ship the Gang Tai Taizhou looms over a beach in Kinmen County on Monday after drifting across from Xiamen and running aground as a result of Typhoon Meranti last week.

Photo: Wu Cheng-ting, Taipei Times

The Maritime and Port Bureau yesterday said it hopes to finish pumping the fuel out of the stranded Gang Tai Taizhou container ship in Kinmen within one week to prevent further water pollution, adding that it would urge the Chinese government to remove the damaged ship as soon as possible.

The Chinese cargo ship, which was supposed to be anchored in Xiamen Port in China’s Fujian Province, drifted toward Kinmen when Typhoon Meranti hit the outlying island during the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday last week. It ran aground off Kinmen Island and sustained severe hull damage.

Authorities had tried in vain to contain the spill from washing ashore, causing pollution on the beach and in the sea.

The bureau said that it had asked Kinmen County and the Environmental Protection Administration to clean up the oil spill on the beach and coral by Sunday and hoped to finish pumping the remaining fuel on the ship within one week.

Maritime and Port Bureau Deputy Director-General Lin Chang-huei (林昌輝) said that a preliminary investigation showed that the ship has sustained damage in three parts.

Underwater photographers will also be employed in the next two days to see if there is any further damage at the bottom of the ship, he said.

The bureau said it has entrusted the Chinese Rescue and Search Foundation with the task of contacting the Fujian Province Marine Search and Rescue Center, which is to inform the Chinese government that it needs to quickly submit a plan to properly remove the damaged vessel.

Lin said that pumping out the remaining fuel on the ship would cost about NT$1 million (US$31,880) and the bureau would seek compensation from the Chinese government for handling the oil spill.

As the ship’s owner has filed for bankruptcy due to a financial dispute with another company, the bureau has detained six crew members and will seek assistance from the Straits Exchange Foundation to negotiate with the Chinese government over compensation.

Asked what the bureau would do to remove the damaged vessel, Lin said that would depend on the plan proposed by the Chinese government.

“We prefer that the ship be towed away, but it might be difficult to do as the area is sandy and rocky,” he said.

“The ship would have to be dismantled if they cannot tow it away, which would take about one year to finish,” he said.

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