South Korea’s oil spill devastation and clean up

Oily Sea

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.


A bird covered in fuel from the spill of a Hong-Kong-registered
oil tanker sits on the beach near South Chungcheong Province.



Volunteers collect spilled oil on Mallipo Beach in Taean County,
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.


South Koreans struggle to clean up the beaches.
They even scoop oil up with spades.


Left pic: A resident uses buckets to try to clean up the dense crude
oil from the beach.
About 2.7 million gallons of oil gushed
from the supertanker. Right pics: Other clean-up work in progress.



Locals form a line to carry buckets full of oil off the beach.
The spill is South Korea’s largest, dumping twice as much
oil into the sea as a spill in 1995.


Oil-filled buckets from the beach are dumped into an inflatable container.


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.


Coast guards spraying chemicals on the slick
in an effort to disperse it



Local fishermen have raised barriers in an
attempt to prevent the oil from contaminating
their seaweed farms


Related post:
South Korea’s largest oil spill in history


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