By: Sunrise Huang, Wang Hung-kuo, Zoe Wei and Elizabeth Hsu
Taipei, March 25 (CNA) Environmental authorities and the New Taipei City government are running out of time to prevent major leaks of toxic substances from a container ship that ran aground off Taiwan’s northern coast.
The authorities took emergency measures Friday to limit the ecological toll of leaks from the vessel on nearby areas, but rough seas and bad weather have prevented them from pumping out heavy oil and fuel from the ship itself, which may be on the verge of capsizing.
Over 100 people were sent to the coastal area of Shimen District in New Taipei on Friday to help clean shorelines polluted by oil leaks from the “Teh Shiang Taipei” container ship, which lost power in rough seas on March 10 and ran aground in waters off Shimen.
The local government also closed Shimen fishing port in Shimen District on Friday after closing the Caoli fishing port in the same district a day earlier, hoping to prevent leaked fuel and oil from damaging port facilities and hurt the livelihoods of local fishermen.
But work on salvaging the stranded ship and pumping out its fuel has been slow because there have only been six days when the sea was calm enough for the pumping operation to proceed, according to the Cabinet-level Environmental Protection Administration (EPA). [FULL STORY]