Ship sinks near Taiwan’s largest port, hundreds of empty containers pose shipping hazards – Taiwan News

On June 21, a container ship sank near the port of Kaohsiung, leaving an estimated 600 containers adrift off the southern coast of Taiwan.

The Palau-registered ANGEL sank in the early hours of Friday, with crew evacuated from the ship, and began to list dangerously after a suspected hull rupture on Thursday. The ship sank about 2.8 nautical miles from the south embankment of Kaohsiung Port, and an estimated 500-600 of the more than 1,300 empty containers on board were still floating on the water.

Two entrances to Taiwan’s largest port, which handles more than 10 million 20-foot containers a year, remained open as containers drifted south between the coast of Pingtung County and the island of Xiaoliuqiu.

Ten salvage ships were dispatched yesterday to salvage containers, but as of 10:00 last night, only 23 containers had been salvaged. As of noon today, the number of containers salvaged had risen to 34.

Ship sinks near Taiwan's largest port, hundreds of empty containers pose shipping hazards – Taiwan News 2

Divers are examining the wreck and working to find any potential leaks, while preparing to remove about 500 tonnes of oil from the ship, including 393 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, 98 tonnes of diesel and 0.3 tonnes of lubricating oil. According to reports, the crew closed the oil valve before the ship sank, and no oil leakage has been found so far.

While current sea and weather conditions are ideal for salvage operations, Taiwanese maritime and port authorities are urging action as Tropical Storm Doksuri is expected to make landfall on Taiwan later this week.

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