Ghost ship runs aground in Yilan County as tropical storm approaches

A crewless Chinese freighter first spotted drifting off the coast of northeastern Taiwan yesterday, September 27, ran aground on a rocky shoreline outside Daxi Fishing Harbor in Yilan County today, September 28.

According to United Daily News, Japanese authorities alerted Taiwan about the drifting ship Thursday, September 26, after it was spotted in Japanese waters. Japan also contacted maritime authorities in China, but received no response from the Chinese.

Taiwan coast guard ships yesterday intercepted the ship 15.7 nautical miles from Point Sancho, and confirmed that the ship was unmanned and drifting without power. There was no name or registration number on the hull, but the words “Wuhu Port” were discernible on the stern, suggesting that the ship may have come from Anhui Province, China.

Early this morning, the ship was reported to be close to Guishan Island, and a tug was dispatched from the Port of Keelung in the hope that a cable could be secured to the vessel before it reached the coast.

However, the approximately 1,000 tonne freighter ran aground at around noon.

A 5,000 horsepower tug from the Port of Suao, and the 10,000 horsepower tug “Salvage Champion” from the Port of Taichung have also been dispatched, and will attempt to tow the vessel to the Port of Suao later this afternoon.

At the time of writing, a tropical storm in the Philippine Sea has intensified and may reach typhoon status. Tropical storm Mitag is forecast to affect the northeast coast of Taiwan from as early as tomorrow. Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau says that it may issue a maritime alert for coastal waters as early as tomorrow morning, Sunday, September 29.

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Sources: United Daily News, China Times.

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