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Coastal pollution clean-up to be completed within 2 months: EPA
【Society】2016-03-30  23:40:13
Taipei, March 30 (CNA) The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said Wednesday that it will complete within two months the clean-up of pollution caused by a grounded ship off Taiwan's northern coast.

The operation for skimming floating oil on the sea will be completed with 5 days, the EPA predicted, adding that the oil on polluted coastal rocks will be cleaned up within 30 days thereafter, and ensuing environmental rehabilitation of the affected area will be take another 25 days.

A group of divers commissioned by the owner of the grounded vessel found on Wednesday that the ship bottom had hit reef rocks and a cobblestone area, the EPA indicated, assuring that the vessel was not in immediate danger of capsizing.

In addition, the ship owner has sent large cranes to the site and has already lifted five containers that had fallen into the sea as of Wednesday. Two other containers are still missing, presumably having sunk to the bottom of the sea, the EPA added.

The divers will conduct another diving mission on Thursday to check the condition of the grounded vessel and to find the missing containers, according to the EPA.

The T.S. Taipei ran aground on March 10 in waters off Shimen in New Taipei. Battered by rough seas, the stranded vessel began breaking apart on March 24, leaking substantial amounts of oil into the sea, creating a heavily polluted area within a 500-meter radius of the ship and a slick that reaches as far as five kilometers away.

In a separate development, the rotten body of a 3-meter-long false killer whale covered with oil was found on Wednesday at a coastal area near the grounded vessel. Kuo Hsiang-hsia (郭祥廈), an expert of Taiwan Cetacean Society, believed however that the death of the false killer whale had nothing to do with the pollution caused by the stranded vessel, as false killer whales usually live some 3 nautical miles from the coast.

"It is probably just a coincidence a false killer whale's body was found near the grounded ship," Kuo said. He stressed however that the cause of the whale's death could only be confirmed through a forensic dissection.

(By Wang Chao-yu and Romulo Huang)
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