4 foreign ships fined for using dirty fuel oil

Taipei-Four foreign vessels have been fined for failing to meet Taiwan's requirement for using low-sulfur fuel oil based on a set of new measures implemented since the start of this year, a government agency said Tuesday.

According to the Maritime and Port Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, four ships registered to the Marshall Islands, Panama, Hong Kong and Singapore, respectively, that entered Taichung and Kaohsiung ports were each fined NT$100,000 (US$3,280) after being ruled as in breach of "an air pollution prevention act at international ports."

The act, applied one year ahead of the New International Maritime Organization regulations to be put in place Jan. 1, 2020, is aimed at cutting the sulfur content allowed in shipping fuel to 0.5 percent from 3.5 percent, in a bid to combat air pollution, bureau officials told a news conference.

Foreign ships and domestic vessels sailing on international routes that fail to use low-sulfur fuel oil when entering Taiwan's ports could risk being detained by port authorities until improvements are made, the officials said.

Citing data compiled through an investigation commissioned by the Environmental Protection Administration, the officials said the levels of sulfur dioxide detected at Taiwan's seven main ports, in particular Taichung, Keelung and Kaohsiung, in the first three quarters were down 18 percent, 32 percent and 45 percent, respectively, year-on- year.

In addition, Taiwan's international ports also demand that entering ships slow their speed and use fully automated machinery and equipment to further reduce pollution, they noted.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel