Fuel Oil Removed in Nick of Time as Grounded Ship Breaks Up

One of two empty oil tankers that ran aground on the coast of Kaohsiung on June 14 broke into two pieces this morning, June 18.

Fortunately, despite being hampered by continuing poor weather conditions, fuel oil was successfully removed from the vessel yesterday, and a major pollution incident was averted.

The Panamanian-flagged MT Shine Luck and the Fiji-registered Winner 19 ran aground at around the same time last Thursday evening, as a tropical low that had almost reached typhoon strength made landfall in Taiwan’s south-west.

The MT Shine Luck had suffered a breakdown, and crew reported that they made repairs, but by the time power was restored, it was too late to make headway against the gale force winds. Crews of both ships said that the two ships had almost collided with each other as they were blown toward the shore.

While the Winner 19 ran ashore on a sandy beach, leaving little risk of a break-up, the MT Shine Luck came to against concrete wave-breaks near the entrance of a fishing port.

Stuck against the sea wall with the stern on the sea bottom, salvage workers did their best to stabilize the ship with cables as waves pounded the ship broadside, threatening an imminent break-up, as the vessel’s hull rocked back and forth against the sea wall.

Kaohsiung City Acting Mayor Hsu Li-ming visited the site of the MT Shine Luck’s grounding Friday and ordered that the fuel oil be urgently removed.

Saturday afternoon representatives of the ship owners met with authorities and submitted a plan for removing the fuel. The following day, the salvage operation was carried out.

The Kaohsiung City Marine Bureau said that 120 kiloliters of fuel oil had been recovered from the fuel tanks of the ship yesterday, June 17.

This morning, Monday, June 18, the MT Shine Luck snapped in two just forward of the bridge.

The bow section was immediately towed to Kaohsiung Port Intercontinental Container Terminal in order to avoid it drifting away and causing a navigation hazard. The stern section will be removed when weather conditions improve.

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