Spill Control Underway for Grounded Container Ship
On Thursday, TS Lines, the owner of the grounded container vessel TS Taipai, told Taiwanese media that eight containers loaded with hazardous material would be offloaded by means of a floating crane by April 3. A crane vessel reportedly departed Kaohsiung on Wednesday afternoon and is expected to arrive Friday.
Pumping out of heavy fuel oil and diesel is expected to be complete by April 1, TS Lines said.
Separately, Taiwan's Fisheries Agency said that there was no sign of toxicity in samples of fish collected from the waters near the Taipei, and that there was no cause for concern. Taiwanese authorities said that shoreside pollution abatement is expected to be complete by June. Environmentalists say that the residual damage to ecosystems will last two to three years.
The Taipei, which lost power and came to rest off New Taipei City, Taiwan on March 10, began to break up on March 24. Oil has been leaking from the stricken vessel since the grounding, and the spill accelerated after she split in two.
When she went aground, the Taipei reportedly carried about 70,000 gallons of fuel, plus lube oil and oily wastewater; a combined task force has been working to lighter the pollutants, but weather has been poor, slowing the work.
Over 100 workers have already been dispatched to the rocky beaches at Shimen District, New Taipei, to clean the oiled shorelines.
Taiwain's Premier Chang San-cheng has defended the government against attacks over a percieved slow response to the wreck, and has pressed TS Lines and response agencies to speed up fuel lightering and spill control.
Helicopter crews with the National Airborne Service Corps rescued all 21 crewmembers on board the day of the grounding; shortly thereafter, during spill mitigation work, a Service Corps helicopter went down, killing two and seriously injuring one.
The TS Taipei is owned by regional carrier TS Lines, a Hong Kong-based private company with 72,000 TEU of smaller container vessels, mostly chartered. She is one of the company's two owned ships.