Freighter that sank off east coast has more than 80,000 liters of oil and petroleum products aboard: too deep to salvage

Taiwan port and maritime authorities are monitoring an area off the coast of Taitung County after a freighter carrying 81,000 liters of oil and petroleum products sank after a collision with another ship two days ago.

The Taitung-based freighter Dafa No.1 sank 16.2 nautical miles southeast of Fugang Harbor after a collision with the Liberian-flagged oil tanker, Lia, shortly after midnight April 26. See previous story: Taiwanese freighter sinks after collision with oil tanker: crew of 9 rescued

Yesterday, it was revealed that among the supplies bound for Orchid Island were 33 oil and petroleum containers carrying fuel products bound for the CNPC gas station and the island’s power station. According to the port authority, the products included 75,000 liters of diesel oil, 2,000 liters of lubricating oil, and 4,000 liters of gasoline.

The Maritime Port Bureau of the Ministry of Transport and Communications set up an emergency response team involving the Xinfa Shipping Company, insurance companies, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the National Coast Guard Administration, and other relevant parties and stakeholders.

According to observations so far, including an aerial survey of the area of the sinking and down stream of prevailing currents, no oil leakage has been detected.

Xinfa Shipping said that the site of the sinking is 1,071 meters deep, and that due to the depth the company was unable to salvage the ship and cargo.

CNPC said that the oil containers are specially designed and have passed quality inspection. The oil tanks are made of stainless steel, with perfect sealing, and there will be no leakage.

Fishermen expressed concern that an oil leak would effect the marine ecology of the area, noting that the stainless steel will eventually corrode. The fishermen urged authorities to salvage the ship as soon as possible.

National Coast Guard Administration and Taitung Environmental Protection Bureau will continue to monitor for signs of an oil leak on the surface and take necessary measures if required.

Meeting of emergency response team. Picture: Maritime Ports Bureau.
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