The Taiwan Bureau of Environmental Protection under the Yilan County Government issued yesterday another fine of NT$1.5 million to the owner of the stranded Maltese-registered freighter "Tzini" for moving the ship without approval. But the shipping company said it will file an appeal.
The 23,000-ton "Tzini" ran aground Dec. 24 about two nautical miles off the eastern Suao Harbor after losing power. At least 100 tons of the more than 700 tons of fuel oil aboard the ship has leaked into adjacent waters, causing an environmental disaster and disrupting the normal operations of fishermen.
Bureau officials said they had given a specific order to the ship’s owner not to tow the ship away from the scene without removing the remaining fuel oil on the vessel and before a solution is worked out on the pollution issue.
The Tzini lost power four days ago when it was travelling in ballast from Japan to Hualien port in eastern Taiwan, where it was scheduled to be loaded with a cargo of cement for delivery to Japan, when it began drifting.
Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration received the ship’s SOS signal and dispatched a rescue helicopter. Ships nearby also joined the rescue mission and pulled the ship’s 24 crew members to safety.