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.