Tue, Feb 06, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Fishers demand oil spill reparation as deadline looms

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Fishers from New Taipei City’s Jinshan and Wanli districts protest outside TS Lines Co headquarters in Taipei yesterday. They are demanding compensation for losses due to oil pollution caused by one of the company’s container ships that ran aground off Shihmen District on March 10, 2016.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Hundreds of fishers yesterday held a protest demanding that TS Lines Co compensate their losses due to marine pollution caused by fuel that spilled from one of its cargo ships nearly two years ago.

The ship laden with 617 containers ran aground off New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門) on its way to the Port of Taichung (台中港) on March 10, 2016.

The ship split in two on March 24, causing an oil spill that polluted a 2km stretch of the northern coastline.

About 400 fishers from the city’s Jinshan (金山) and Wanli (萬里) districts protested in front of the company’s headquarters in Taipei.

The oil spill affected the livelihood of about 10,000 fishers in the two districts, but they have not been adequately compensated by TS Lines, Fishery Heritage Preservation Platform chief executive officer Kuo Ching-lin (郭慶霖) said.

The company is offering to pay only NT$17 million (US$580,066) — 10 percent of what the fishers have claimed — as the March 10 deadline for the period for claiming compensation nears, he said.

The fishers’ claim of NT$170 million is based on the calculations of National Taiwan Ocean University professor Ou Ching-hsien (歐慶賢), he added.

The company has paid more than NT$600 million since the incident and it would continue negotiating with the fishers with utmost sincerity to achieve a mutually beneficial result, company vice president Tu Hung-lin (涂鴻麟) said.

Tu also apologized to the fishers for the inconvenience caused by the incident, which sparked more heated protests.

The company paid the NT$600 million to government agencies and did not reimburse the losses sustained by the fishers, who can barely catch any fish along the coastline since the incident, New Power Party Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said.

As the fishers failed to present legal documentation to prove their actual losses, the company cannot agree to their demands, the company’s public relations representative Chang Li-li (張莉莉) said, adding that its compensation offer is based on a study by National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology.

However, the company might attend a negotiation platform convened by the Council of Agriculture, Chang said after being pressured by Huang.

The council would invite the company and the Maritime Port Bureau for another round of negotiations this week, council Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) told the fishers.

The company has paid NT$6 million for direct damage to fishers’ equipment, Fisheries Agency Deputy Director-General Wang Cheng-fang (王正芳) said.

The agency has sued the company demanding NT$470 million compensation and the case reached an administrative court late last year, he said, adding that the compensation would be used to restore damaged public fishery resources.

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