Owner Of Ship That Ran Aground Could Face Huge Financial Claims
The agency commissioned two National Taiwan Ocean University professors -- Cheng Sha-yen (鄭學淵) and Ou Ching-hsiewn (歐慶賢) -- to assess the scope of the damage the leak caused to marine life and fishermen. Cheng said their study found that over 40 percent of fish larvae in the surrounding waters were gone and that the losses and cost of rehabilitating the waters could be in the tens of millions of Taiwan dollars. The agency will now convene a meeting to confirm the contents of the scholars' reports, and estimated that the compensation requested could end up at over NT$100 million.
The fishermen's losses will be divided into direct and indirect losses, the agency said, noting that it has received reports of roughly NT$6 million in damage to fishing equipment or fishing boats from 42 fishing vessels. The agency said that Taiwan has asked for compensation from ships on several occasions, including from the Amorgos, a Greek freighter that ran aground in waters near the Lungken Eco-protection Area preservation area in Kenting National Park. The Environmental Protection Administration filed for compensation from the owners of the ship in that case, and the two sides reached a US$1.05 million settlement.
Fisheries Agency section chief Shih Chun-yi (施俊毅) said oil typically leaks from ships quickly and in large volumes, but in this case, the oil from the T.S. Taipei seeped out slowly, forcing authorities to expend substantial resources and manpower on the clean-up, resulting in the decimation of the fish larvae. "If there are no fish larvae, how can we have adult fish?" he lamented, adding that the "ecological losses are hard to calculate."