Oil Spill Expected as Stranded Freighter Breaks

Taiwan EPA website

The Te Siang Lines cargo ship 德翔台北 that ran aground 300 meters off Taiwan’s north coast near Shimen District on March 10 has reportedly split in two, raising concerns of an imminent oil spill and ensuing environmental disaster, UDN reported. The ship had already been leaking oil into the sea. After more than 10 days, the surf has further opened the crack in the ship’s hull. The extensive damage was noticed at 10:00 this morning.

The EPA expects the ship to capsize or break apart further today, which would increase environmental damage from spilled oil as well as caustic chemicals and wastewater. The ship reportedly contains 242 cubic meters of fuel. Coastal areas would likely be closed for two to three months and complete cleanup would take two or three years, according to the EPA.

The Executive Yuan held an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss plans and survey the area.

On March 11, two people were killed when a National Airborne Service helicopter crashed while checking on possible oil spills caused by the stranded freighter. There were 21 crew members on board the ship when it ran aground on March 10.

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