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10-04-2017

Australia Lends Support to Taiwanese Investigation into Suspected Bunker Spill

Approximately 8 km of Green Island's coast is said to have been polluted in March as a result of a spill from a currently unidentified source .

Taiwan's Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Wednesday said it is working with Australian authorities on a criminal investigation related to an oil spill that occurred near Green Island in March, Chinese media reports.

Approximately 8 km of Green Island's coast is said to have been polluted as a result of the spill, with a Cyprus-flagged vessel - currently stationed in Esperance, Australia - suspected to be cause.

Lee Ying-yuan, Minister for the EPA told a press conference Wednesday that Taiwanese officials had been authorised by Australian authorities to board the foreign-flagged ship in order to collect evidence to inform their criminal investigation into the spill.

The investigation has so far examined the ship's bunkering records, receipts, navigation plans, and the pipeline near the exhaust valve, as well as collected oil samples from the vessel's seven oil tanks.

While there is said to have been no evidence found so far to link the ship to the oil pollution, oil samples have been sent for analysis, with results are still pending.

EPA Deputy Minister Chan Shun-kuei said the investigation is the first instance in which Taiwan has worked with international forces against oil pollution from ships, establishing a precedent that can be utilised in future cases.

Lee highlighted that the two governments' cooperation is of particular significance as Taiwan is not a signatory to MARPOL.

Yeh Chun-hung, EPA's Water Quality Protection Chief, said the cleanup process was completed on March 24, with a total of 5,884 kilograms of oil and garbage noted to have been removed near Green Island at a cost NT$2 million ($65,486) to the EPA.


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