Formosa leaders bow to apologise for fish death statement (Photo: VNA)

Ha Tinh (VNA) – Leaders of the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation (FHS) officially apologised for a shocking statement made by a company’s representative regarding recent massive fish deaths in the central region.

FHS Deputy Managing Director Zhang Funing offered the apology to the Vietnamese Government, local administration and the people of Ha Tinh province for the comment by the company’s Hanoi office chief representative Chou Chun Fan.

“It is only possible to choose one: either fishing or the development of modern steel industry,” Chou told reporters on April 25.

Zhang said the company would seriously learn from that experience and initiate proper measures to deal with Chou.

According to the deputy managing director, Chou is only a representative of the FHS office in Hanoi, not the company spokesperson.

At the press conference in Ha Tinh, Formosa leaders affirmed that Chou’s statement did not represent the company’s viewpoint. It aroused public disapproval and seriously affected the company’s image. Chou also expressed his sincere apologies to the Vietnamese people, Vietnam News Agency reported.

Responding to reporters’ questions about the import of chemicals and the cleansing of the waste water discharging system, Zhang said papers related to all imported chemicals had always been provided to relevant authorities and the chemicals were permitted to be imported into the country. He said the company did not use chemicals to clean the system.

Sewage discharge has been suspected being the culprit responsible for the fish deaths in provinces from Ha Tinh to Thua Thien-Hue since early this month. Under the situation, the Ministries of Natural Resources and Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Public Security have recently checked Formosa’s sewage discharge. Relevant authorities are also testing water samples to determine the major causes of the deaths.

According to the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, results of a study, analysis and assessment by April 25 by scientists assigned to look for reasons for the mass death of the fish in the central region have excluded causes such as oil spills and earthquakes.

Scientists are testing noxious seaweed analysing toxic substances contained in the water, sediments as well as fish samples collected from 200 water samples and 200 dead fish samples collected along coastal areas in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, the Tuoi tre (Youth) newspaper reported on April 26.

The newspaper also reported that Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha will chair a meeting with related ministries and sectors to receive a full report of the incident on April 27.

The meeting is expected to hear the relevant bodies and reports on analyses of samples, contribute opinions and determine exact causes of the situation.

A press conference is expected to be held later in the day to make public the causes for the deaths of the fish.-VNA