Freighter runs aground on coast of southern Taiwan after crew abandons crippled ship

A crew of 13 was rescued from a freighter yesterday, after the drifting vessel began to list dangerously, then the ship ran aground after an attempt to tow the vessel failed.

The Sierra-Leone-registered, 2,600 ton general-cargo freighter, Zhihai 8, lost power in the early hours of the morning, yesterday, October 12.

The crew abandoned ship by life raft after the ship began listing severely to starboard, threatening to overturn.

Coast Guard vessels and a helicopter were dispatched from the Port of Kaohsiung to assist the crew. Some crew members were airlifted while others were rescued by ship.

crew of freighter in life raft
Crew evacuated to life raft. Picture: Taiwan Coast Guard.

According to reports, the freighter was 1.3 nautical miles off the coast at the time of rescue. The ship then drifted onto the coast of Qijin Island.

Attempts were made to tow the vessel, but the mooring piles broke during the towing operation.

The hull is reported to be damaged, with water in the hold, and the water pump is burned out.

The empty cargo ship is carrying 40 tons of fuel oil, 19 tons of light oil, and 400 liters of lubricating oil. Currently there is no leakage, and Marine Conservation Department Personnel have been dispatched to monitor the situation.

The Port of Kaohsiung has requested the ship owners and local marine engineering companies to organize oil retrieval, and tow the ship into safer waters.

The ship’s crew have been placed in quarantine facilities. Ten of the crew are Myanmar nationals, and three are Chinese.

Some crew were airlifted. Picture: Taiwan Coast Guard.
Picture: Taiwan Coast Guard.
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