Taoyuan City firefighters had to rescue the crew of a tugboat sent to help a coal freighter stranded off the coast, after the tug lost power and ran aground today, October 18.
Taoyuan Fire Bureau dispatched 15 firefighters, an ambulance, and 6 inflatable boats to rescue the crew of 9 on the tug.
On October 14, the Panamanian-registered Harvest Sky ran aground in foul weather 300 meters off the coast near Taoyuan City. The 95,717 tonne bulk carrier has a payload of 19,068 tonnes of coal and is carrying 1,590 tonnes of petroleum products consisting of heavy oil 1,377 tonnes, diesel 185 tonnes, and lubricants 29 tonnes.
Authorities have downplayed the potential for an environmental catastrophe. Rough seas have hampered efforts to free the ship, but the 7 year-old ship’s hull is said to be in a good condition, the crew of 21 is safe, and there is little risk of a pollution incident.
According to Mikhail Voytenko of Maritime Bulletin, the Harvest Sky may have lost power after having propellers fouled by fishing nets, and is now sitting on a muddy, gravelly bottom.