Skip to main content

VIDEO: Split and spilling

A maritime disaster unfolding off Taiwan has caused no deaths, but there are serious concerns about its effects on the environment.

The 521-foot, 15,487-ton container ship TS Taipei ran aground in a storm about 1,000 feet from the shore while traveling from Hong Kong to Keelung Port in Taiwan on March 10.

The ship broke in two on March 24 and has been leaking heavy fuel oil into the sea, prompting a massive cleanup. All 21 crewmembers were evacuated safely, but a helicopter crash during the cleanup killed two people and seriously injured a third person.

Stormy weather has hampered efforts to remove most of the 617 shipping containers the ship was carrying when it ran aground, as well as 240 tons of fuel oil, 35 tons of lube oil and 30 tons of waste and other contaminants, according to both the commercial shipping website The Maritime Executive and the maritime publication gCaptain.

Some of the shipping containers have fallen overboard. Officials have closed nearby fishing grounds and advised tourists to stay out of the water.