Formosa blames subcontractors for causing mass fish deaths

By Duc Hung, Bach Lan   June 30, 2016 | 02:16 am PT
In a letter sent to staff on Thursday, Chen Yuan Cheng, president of Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp. blamed subcontractors on the project for causing the mass fish deaths in central Vietnam.

The letter was released before the Vietnamese government announced the results of an investigation into the disaster on Thursday afternoon. 

Cheng said the investigation led by Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment showed that the pollution was caused by subcontractors during trial runs at the complex in Ha Tinh Province.

“Although it is not what we expected, we respect the findings of the [Vietnamese] government,” he said in the letter.

Some dead fish in Central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung

Dead fish in Central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung

The president also said the company is working with local authorities to deal with the consequences of the incident. “In any circumstances, the company will continue its operations at the project, and prioritize the safety and benefit of the company’s staff and strive for sustainable and long-term development in Vietnam.”

The letter was read to staff by department heads at Formosa Ha Tinh this morning, a source told VnExpress.

In early April, large quantities of fish washed up dead near the Vung Ang Economic Zone in Ha Tinh Province. The disaster stretched 200 kilometers along the central Vietnamese coast, as far south as Thua Thien-Hue, resulting in the death of more than 70 tons of sea fish and 35 tons of farm-raised fish.

Especially hard hit were Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Thua Thien Hue provinces where thousands of fishermen lost customers or were forced to sell at a loss.

Formosa Ha Tinh Steel belongs to Formosa Plastics Group (Taiwan) and is expected to be completed in 2017 with total investment of nearly $1 billion. The project features a steel mill complex designed to produce 15 million tons of steel annually.

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