Taiwanese government officials swung into emergency mode this morning (21 July), after the container ship Angel sank in Kaohsiung, causing fears that more than 1,000 containers are now adrift.
While moored at Kaohsiung’s anchorage No. 2, the 2003-built 1,581 TEU Angel suffered a crack hull and subsequent water ingress on the morning of 20 July, and began listing severely. The ship captain sent a distress call to Taiwan International Ports Corporation, around 9 am, saying the 19-man crew was abandoning the vessel. All of them were rescued and one injured seafarer was sent to a hospital.
Kaohsiung seals harbour after boxship lists
Initially, six of the 1,349 empty containers on Angel fell into the water, and Kaohsiung Harbor 1 was sealed off to prevent the spread of oil spills and to salvage the fallen containers.
However, despite two tugs being sent to the scene, Angel could not be stabilized and sank around 9 am today.
Marshall Islands-incorporated Navramar Shipping is shown in databases as being the owner of Angel, which had arrived in Kaohsiung from Dalian, China, on 2 July. While VesselsValue lists the last charterer of the ship as Taiwan-based Cheng Lie Navigation (CNC Line), CMA CGM’s intra-Asia arm, a CMA CGM spokesperson told Container News that CNC Line redelivered the ship (formerly Hansa Langeland) between June and November 2013, and had not been involved with the vessel thereafter.
Chou Chun-mi, the mayor of neighbouring Pingtung county, said on her Facebook page that the containers may drift southwards, to the waters off Taiwan, and officials have taken steps to prevent ships from hitting the boxes.
Ships and fishing boats passing through the area will be notified to be extra vigilant, and to inform the Maritime Port Bureau if any stray containers are spotted. The Environmental Protection Administration is also looking out for any oil slicks.