The South Korean government declared a “state of disaster” as the oil slick began hitting the shores of Taean early Saturday (8 Dec). The spill now threatens the livelihood of an area that includes beaches like Shinduri and better-known Mallipo, which is considered one of South Korea’s most scenic areas and serves as an important stopover for mallards, great crested grebes and others migrating birds.
The oil spill has done irreparable damage to Taean’s shores ecologically. Experts say leaving the cleanup to nature will take at least 10 years and could take as much as 100 years.
oil tanker sits on the beach near South Chungcheong Province.
South Chungcheong Province after a slick leaked from a
supertanker in waters off Taean County reached the western coastline.
Some of the 7,500 volunteers who helped scoop up the oil from the beach, including civil servants and members of the coast guard, police and military, contended with headaches and nausea from the petroleum’s stench.
oil from the beach. About 2.7 million gallons of oil gushed
from the supertanker. Right pics: Other clean-up work in progress.
The spill is South Korea’s largest, dumping twice as much
oil into the sea as a spill in 1995.
Still others worked aboard 105 ships along South Korea’s western coast trying to clean the sea, plugging the leaks in the tanker, dropping oil fences into the ocean and using chemicals to break up the slick.
attempt to prevent the oil from contaminating
their seaweed farms
- South Korean oil spill damages seafood farms, casts shadow over tourism
- BBC In Pictures: South Korea slick clean up
South Korea’s largest oil spill in history