Crew rescued from grounded freighter: weather and sea conditions hamper salvage operations

A crew of 9 were lifted off a ship by crane after the vessel ran aground at Budai Port in Chiayi County yesterday, August 5.

The crew lost control of the freighter Shanbao II, en route from Penghu Islands to Budai Port, when the rudder broke in heavy seas generated by tropical storm Lupit.

The ship drifted into wave breaking blocks near the entrance to the port at around 3:00 pm Thursday afternoon.

A rescue team employed a crane and a cage to disembark the crew of 7 Taiwanese and 2 Indonesians nationals. The rescue operation was completed at around 6:00 pm.

crew crane-lifed in cage from grounded ship
Crew lifted from grounded freighter, August 5, 2021. Picture: Coast Guard Administration.

High winds and large waves pounded the ship against the wave breakers, causing the ship to sink during the night. At high tide this morning, only the cabin and parts of the gantry remained above water.

A visual inspection of the sea surface this morning did not reveal any oil spills. However, 5 of the 18 containers onboard the ship had drifted away.

Equipment has been deployed at the site to pump water out of the ship and tow it away when conditions allow. However, poor weather and sea conditions are hampering salvage attempts.

Cushioning materials have been placed between the concrete wave blocks and the ship in an attempt to prevent the hull being breached.

The Environmental Protection Bureau has deployed Oil booms around the ship and are monitoring the area incase of an oil spill.

The 1,416 gross ton vessel is carrying 130 liters of diesel oil and 150 liters of lubricating oil.

The Chiayi Meteorological Station said the sea conditions are not expected to improve until Monday. Currently, waves are 3-4 meters in height with wind gusts of Beaufort Scale 9-10.

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