Stranded cargo vessel leaking oil off Taiwan
29 March 2016
The Taiwanese ship T.S. Taipei became stranded on a reef on march 10 off Shihmen, Northern Taiwan, and has been leaking oil ever since. Around 2 kilometres of coastline has already been polluted, and an operation to drain the ship’s oil tank has been hampered by bad weather.
There are still over 200 tonnes of fuel and 614 cargo containers with machinery, furniture, textiles and other items on board, as well as nine containers containing lubricant and toxic chemicals, according to the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).
“The ship has fractured down the middle and could capsize anytime... if it capsizes, the remaining fuel could leak out and the cargo containers will fall into the sea, affecting the local coastline and ocean habitat,” the EPA said in a statement.
The worst oil spill in Taiwan in recent years was when Greek-registered Amorgos, carrying 60,000 tonnes of iron ore, ran aground off the southern coast in 2001. Nearly 1,000 tonnes of oil leaked from the vessel, contaminating a coastal reserve and seriously damaging the area’s ecosystem.