Oil Slick Reaches South Korean Shore

Worst spill in country's history threatens scenic coastline, maritime park
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2007 5:42 AM CST
A damaged Hong Kong-registered tanker floats, spilling oil following an accident off the Mallipo beach, South Korea, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007. Some 2.7 million gallons of oil gushed Friday from a 146,000-ton...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Emergency workers in South Korea are struggling to contain a 12-mile-long oil slick that has reached an ecologically sensitive shoreline on the Korean west coast. The oil spilled when a barge broke loose from the tug that was pulling it, and slammed into a Hong Kong-registered supertanker. The spill threatens a national maritime park and a stopover for migrating birds; four miles of beach have already been affected, BBC reports.

Strong winds are frustrating South Korean coast guard efforts to control the slick with a boom and chemical dispersants. "We are worried about an ecological disaster," one maritime official said. The spill, South Korea's largest, is about one-fourth the size of the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989.