The Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) stated today (2/7) that the cargo ship "HM FOUNDATION" which ran aground on the northern coast of Penghu's Xijiyu on January 18 was carrying heavy fuel on board. This has been verified by marine surveyors commissioned to board the vessel and perform the inspection. To prevent pollution, the MPB made an emergency procurement requesting a maritime services company to proceed with oil pumping as soon as possible. Oil pumping operations were completed on February 6, effectively eliminating the marine pollution crisis.
The MPB stated that, upon learning the "HM FOUNDATION" cargo ship had run aground, it immediately invited the Ocean Conservation Administration and Coast Guard Administration under the Ocean Affairs Council of the Executive Yuan, the Marine National Park Headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Bureau of Penghu County to convene an emergency response meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to formulate measures for marine pollution prevention and control, such as oil pollution monitoring, laying of oil barriers, and review of plans for residual oil removal. It was resolved at the meeting that the Coast Guard Administration would provide daily monitoring and report on whether the hull had drifted as well as whether the sea surface had been polluted by oil, and that the pumping company was to be instructed to submit a residual oil removal plan on January 24. The above agencies completed review of the plan on January 25, and at 9 pm on January 26 the residual oil removal team departed from Kaohsiung Port to the grounding site after preparations for the necessary pumping equipment were completed. During the pumping process, due to the strong northeast monsoon and large swells in the Penghu waters, operations were at times suspended. Over the past few days, however, while surface conditions remained stable, the operation of draining residual oil from the ship was completed all at once. Approximately 550 liters of heavy fuel, 200 liters of lubricating oil and 90-100 tons of oil-water mixture in the engine room were drawn out in total. The actual quantities, however, still await confirmation in a notarized report submitted by a notary.
The MPB indicated that on February 3, ownership of the vessel was declared unclear in accordance with Article 54 of the Commercial Port Law. Under these circumstances, ownership of the ship may be claimed within three months from the announcement date, but if the ship owner does not come forward within the aforementioned period, the vessel will be disposed of as seen fit to ensure that the sea scape of the national park is restored to its original condition as early as possible.
Contact person: Lu,Chin-Fa, Section Chief, South Maritime Affairs Center
Contact number: +886-7-2620585