EPA Preparing for Oil Spill as Freighter Breaks Up.

A crack in the middle of  a ground  freighter on the coast of Taiwan
A large crack in the hull of a grounded freighter at Shimen in New Taipei City. Photo: Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration.

Environmental Protection Authorities in Taiwan are preparing for an oil spill as freighter which ran aground March 10 has developed a large crack in the hull and looks to be breaking in half. About 242 cubic meters of heavy oil remain on board after recovery efforts were stopped due to bad weather.

An oil boom has been put in place to prevent oil entering the cooling system of a nearby nuclear power-plant which depends on sea-water to cool the reactor.

As well as the oil threat, the ship is carrying 617 containers, which could present a serious threat to shipping if they drift away. The cargo also contains about 20 tonnes of potassium perchlorate, 18.2 metric tons of toluene, 8.5 tonnes of lipid abrasive cleaners, 6 tonnes of combustible oil, and 11 tonnes of epoxy paint.

The T.S Lines freighter Te-hsiang Taipei (德翔臺北) ran aground March 10 after losing power in bad weather. Bad weather and rough seas have hampered recovery efforts ever since. On March 11 a helicopter airlifting technicians off the ship crashed, resulting in two fatalities.

An oil boom at the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant set up in preparation for an oil spill
An oil boom is positioned at the inlet to a nuclear reactor’s cooling system. Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant depends on seawater to cool its reactor. Photo: Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration.
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