Mainland shipper may be asked to pay if stock is affected by leaks Fish farmers in Ma Wan are considering seeking compensation from a mainland shipping company after a Shenzhen-registered bulk carrier carrying thousands of tonnes of coal ran aground off Lantau on Monday. The chairman of Ma Wan Fisheries Rights Association, Lai Tak-chuen, said the water in fish farms had darkened since Tuesday afternoon after the grounding of the 200-metre Pengyang, loaded with 4,800 tonnes of coal. Three of its cabins were damaged when the ship crashed into a rock 10 metres below it, about 200 metres southeast of Ma Wan. It then beached 300 metres into the Kap Shui Mun channel off Yam O. 'The water used to be clearer. But now it's getting darker and darker. So if our fish get killed, we'll claim damages from the shipping company,' he said. 'The fish being raised here by the 80 fish-farm households are mostly higher-priced species such as the Green Grouper and Giant Grouper.' Such fish could be sold wholesale for $100 each, association president Fok Hei said. However, the association was unable to give the exact number of fish affected. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has taken seawater samples for testing, but results had yet to be released, Mr Lai said. The fisheries representative in Legco, Wong Yung-kan, yesterday demanded the Marine Department expedite the clean-up process and said he would fight for any compensation from the Shenzhen-Guangdong Shipping Company. 'Of course the Hong Kong government should not be held responsible if any compensation had to be paid. Of course the shipping company should pay,' Mr Wong said. Yesterday, the Marine Department placed a 1,400-metre oil boom in Kap Shui Mun in an attempt to reduce pollutants reaching the fish farms. Denying any leakage had occurred, senior marine officer Tsang Cheuk-yin said it would take about four to five days to retrieve all 4,800 tonnes of coal from inside the carrier, and up to 10 days for the carrier to be towed away. 'We have been in contact with the shipping company as well as officials of the Guangzhou Salvage Bureau. Arrangements are being made to send tow ships from the mainland. And we'll offer the best assistance possible,' he said. Two sea cleaners, one patrol control boat and three patrol launches were yesterday despatched by the Hong Kong government to aid the salvage process. Mr Wong urged the Marine Department to first encircle the carrier with an oil boom to contain any oil leaks. Mr Tsang said he had no idea what caused the accident, adding that ships much bigger than the Pengyang and requiring more clearance had travelled through Ma Wan Channel without incident. Investigations by the department are under way.