Cargo ship aground and leaking oil in Penghu Islands

Coast guard and environmental protection agency personnel are cleaning up and attempting to prevent spreading of an oil spill after a 499-ton cargo ship ran aground on Jibei Island in the Penghu archipelago.

According to Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration, the Cameroonian-flagged general cargo ship, Hai Shou, en route from the Port of Kaohsiung to Busan, Korea, lost power and began drifting on Saturday, December 16. Attempts were made to anchor the ship, but strong winds caused the ship to continue drifting northwards until the ship ran aground 0.4 nautical miles north of Baisha Township, Jibei Island, Penghu County, Sunday, December 17.

The crew of nine Myanmar nationals were airlifted off the stranded ship by Taiwan’s National Airborne Service Corps.

crew of ship airlifted by NASC helicopter
Picture Credit: National Airborne Service Corps

Early this morning, Monday, December 18, an oil slick was seen, with an estimated 20 tons of diesel fuel leaking from the vessel. Coast guard and EPA personnel deployed oil booms to prevent further incursion, and used oil absorbing cotton to clean up the contaminated coastal reef.

Attempts were made to surround the ship with floating oil booms, but rough seas and high winds made it impossible to contain the spill.

According to the Ocean Conservation Administration of the Ocean Affairs Council, an area in the intertidal zone of around 10 X 300 meters has been affected by the oil spill.

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