The containership TS Taipei, owned by TS Lines, split into two amid rough seas off Shimen in northern Taiwan, after it ran aground on 10 March due to loss of propulsion.
Local reports said TS Taipei has leaked substantial amount of oil into the sea, creating a polluted area within a 500-metre radiius of the ship and a slick that can reach as far as 5km away. It was carrying approximately 400 tonnes of heavy fuel oil.
While efforts to remove the oil from the ship started shortly after the ground incident, the operations were hampered due to bad weather and progress has been slow.
Taiwan’s ministry of transportation and communications has urged TS Lines to speed up its oil removal operation, which is expected to be completed by early-April.
Environmentalists have warned that if the spill is not contained swiftly, its damage to the ecosystem could last for two to three years.
TS Taipei, which was sailing from Hong Kong to Keelung, was carrying 21 crew when the accident happened, but all the crew were safely evacuated by a helicopter.
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