Record Compensation Claim Filed against Container Ship



The owner of a container ship that ran aground off Taiwan’s northern coast earlier this year is facing a huge compensation claim that could set new records.  The container ship T.S.Taipei owned by T.S.Lines Co. ran aground on March 10, due to the impact the ship cracked and subsequently broke into two thereby causing heavy oil and fuel to be discharged into the sea.

The Taiwan fisheries agency commissioned two National Taiwan Ocean University professors to assess the extent of the damage caused to the marine life and the fishing community. The professors found that over 40 per cent of the fish larvae in the surrounding waters perished and that rehabilitation effort could run into tens of millions of Taiwan dollars.

The agency has planned to convene a meeting where the contents of the reports will be examined and further estimations would be requested for compensation that could end well over 100 million Taiwan dollars.  The agency has planned to segregate the losses caused to the fishermen into direct and indirect losses.  It has also received a claim of around 6 million Taiwan dollar for damage caused towards fishing equipment which includes fishing boats or small vessels from 42 fishing vessels.

It is also noted that this is not the first time that Taiwan has filed for compensation.  Earlier a compensation claim was filed against a Greek freighter Amorgos that ran aground near Kenting National Park.  The Environmental Protection Administration filed for compensation and a US$1.05 million was reached as a settlement from both sides.

Fisheries Agency section Chief Shih Chun-Yi 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”.  He further lamented, “If there are no fish larvae, how can we have adult fish?” adding that the “ecological losses are hard to calculate.”

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