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4 rescued after tanker runs aground during typhoon

KAOHSIUNG -- A rescue helicopter overcame strong gusts and heavy rain brought by Typhoon Matmo Wednesday afternoon to carry four oil tanker crewmen to safety after their ship ran aground off the coast of Kaohsiung.

The crewmen, two from China and two from Indonesia, were brought ashore at 1:30 p.m. uninjured and “in good condition,” according to the National Airborne Service Corps.

Efforts to rescue them by ship had proven fruitless due to the inclement weather.

Kaohsiung Port officials said there is no danger of an oil leak from the Belize-registered Sheng Chang, which is still grounded about 100 kilometers off the coast of Cijin District, because it was only carrying enough diesel fuel to power itself.

Plans to drain the four tons of diesel on board were scrapped due to the dangerous weather conditions, said David Cheng, harbor master at the Port of Kaohsiung.

Authorities and the owner of the Sheng Chang will head out to the ship Thursday to inspect the damage and discuss plans to remove or dismantle it, Cheng said.

He added that they will need to negotiate the costs because the ship's insurance has expired.

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An oil tanker registered in Belize lies stranded in shallow waters off the coast of Chizin (旗津), Kaohsiung. Rescue helicopters have since been dispatched to recover the crew of the stranded vessel. (CNA)

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