Fri, Jul 26, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Officials are hunting for ocean oil-drum dumpers

‘UNBELIEVABLE’:Diving coach Wang Ming-hsiang and some of his students found the 23 drums while diving near the Chaojing Bay Conservation Area

By Lin Hsin-han and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A man in Keelung yesterday inspects drums suspected to contain motor oil, which were discovered near a marine conservation area on Wednesday during a scuba diving class.

Photo: Tsai Fu-ning, Taipei Times

The people who dumped 23 oil drums in the ocean outside Chaojing Bay Conservation Area (潮境公園) would be brought to task using data provided by ships that were nearby, said Tsai Fu-ning (蔡馥嚀), head of the Keelung Department of Economic Affairs’ Marine Affairs division.

The perpetrators would be charged with contravening the Marine Pollution Control Act (海洋污染防治法), which could see them fined NT$300,000 to NT$1.5 million (US$9,651 to US$48,255), Tsai said yesterday.

Scuba diving coach Wang Ming-hsiang (王銘祥) and some of his students found the 23 drums outside the conservation area during a practice session on Wednesday, she said, adding that while Wang and the students removed the containers, 500m of seawater has been heavily contaminated.

The drums were full when dumped in the sea and are suspected of containing motor oil for ships, Tsai said.

Abandoning full oil drums was a terrible thing to do, as it polluted the sea and nature, Wang said.

His students said that the act was unbelievable.

The containers were found in the area from Elephant Trunk Rock (象鼻岩) to the zone demarcating the border of New Taipei City and Keelung, and were relatively close together, Tsai said, adding that Wang had discovered the drums shortly after they were dumped, preventing them from being carried into the conservation area and causing an even greater disaster.

The area near Wanghaisiang (望海巷) harbor has been designated a conservation zone since 2016 and there is an outright ban on capturing any animals in it, with fish and coral in the area more populous.

The area has earned the name “Secret Garden” among divers and snorkelers, and has become a popular area for snorkeling.

The Coast Guard Administration said that it is looking at data provided by ships to track down the perpetrator.

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