Working journals show that 10 tonnes of propene, also known as propylene, leaked from piping systems used by LCY Chemical Corp over a two-hour period before the explosions in Greater Kaohsiung on Thursday night and Friday morning last week, the city government’s top environmental official said.
Environmental Protection Bureau Director-General Derek Chen (陳金德) said that the flow of gas in the pipes in Cianjhen (前鎮) and Lingya (苓雅) districts saw a sudden pressure decrease from 42 kilograms per square centimeter (kg/cm2) to 13 kg/cm2 between 8:50pm and 9:45pm on Thursday night.
The abnormality indicated a leak in a pipeline used by LCY Chemical to obtain propene from China General Terminal & Distribution Corp (CGTD), a provider of warehousing and transportation services for petrochemical raw materials, just hours before the explosions that claimed at least 28 lives.
CGTD shut down the pipeline at 9:30pm after noticing the discrepancy, only to reopen it at 10:10pm at LCY Chamical’s request, Chen said.
He accused LCY Chemical of “failing to report the abnormality” to the environmental authority.
The loss of pressure is suspected to be the source of the 10 tonnes of leaked gas that caused the series of explosions, Chen added.
Chen said if the abnormality had been reported to the relevant authorities promptly and the pipelines subsequently shut down, the tragedy could have been avoided.
After conducting an investigation at the scene of the incident, prosecutors found holes and patches along the pipes that they suspect might be the source of the leaks, Chen said.
The pipes belonging to LCY Chemical appear to be the only ones that continued supplying gas in the hours leading up to the explosions, he added.
The 28 confirmed deaths from the incident include four firefighters. As of yesterday afternoon, more than 300 people were reported injured, according to data from the Central Disaster Emergency Operation Center.
A total of 83,819 people from 32,968 households were affected in some way by the explosions, the center said.
About 280 people are living in shelters set up by the city government, it added.
The heads of three major US banks on Wednesday pledged that they would withdraw from the Chinese market if Washington imposed sanctions on Beijing in response to an invasion of Taiwan. JP Morgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, Bank of America chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan and Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser told lawmakers at a hearing of the US House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services in Washington that the three banks would follow the guidance of the US government to exit China if necessary. The three bankers made the pledge after US Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer asked the three if they
HIGH STAKES: An attack on Taiwan could prompt a joint response from the US and Japan, and trigger a global conflict that could bring down the CCP, Liu Tai-ying said The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would not be able to launch an invasion of Taiwan for at least another 10 years, Taiwan Research Institute founder Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英) said on Friday. To occupy Taiwan, China needs to transport at least 300,000 to 400,000 troops across the Taiwan Strait during battle, but it would lack the ability to do so for at least another decade, said Liu, a former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) treasurer and a close aide to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝). The challenges that China would face during an attempted invasion of Taiwan would be even greater than those
CHINA CRITIC: Prime ministerial candidate Giorgia Meloni, the front-runner in today’s election, said that she would not renew a Belt and Road Initiative deal with Beijing Italian lawmaker Giorgia Meloni, the front-runner to become the country’s next prime minister, is expected to reverse course on Italy’s support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative and strengthen ties with Taiwan if a coalition headed by her party wins the country’s general election today. “Without any doubt, if there is a center-right government, it is sure that Taiwan will be an essential concern for Italy,” Meloni told the Central News Agency in an interview. Italians are to vote in a snap election triggered by the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi following a failed attempt to get his coalition partners
HAWAII MODEL: While Hawaii held a referendum on becoming the 50th US state, Taiwan has never applied to join the People’s Republic of China, Miles Yu said China comparing Taiwanese independence to Hawaii seeking independence from the US is illogical, as Taiwan has never applied to be a part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Hudson Institute senior fellow Miles Yu (余茂春) said over the weekend. Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅), who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, has given multiple talks asserting Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. In a speech to the Asia Society on Thursday, Wang likened Taiwan to Hawaii. “Just as the US would not allow Hawaii to break away,” Beijing “reserves the right” to seek unification, Wang told the gathering. The