Korea Struggles to Clean Spill

Government declares state of disaster
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2007 5:00 PM CST
Local residents and soldiers try to remove dense crude oil near the the Mallipo beach in Taean, west of Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007. Some 2.7 million gallons of oil gushed Friday from a 146,000-ton...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A crew of 7,000 struggled to contain the worst oil spill in South Korean history today, the New York Times reports. The government declared a state of disaster as volunteers hauled buckets of oil from a 12-mile shore, fighting headaches and nausea from the stench. The coast guard set up floating oil fences, but high waves washed over them. “I think we are finished,” one resident aid.

Seoul said the cleanup will take months, a death knell for tourism on the once-popular shore. Its tidal fats host a national park, wildlife, and fish farms, and attract millions of visitors every year. Now oil has scared away tourists and blackened the sands. The spill is twice the size of South Korea’s second-biggest oil disaster, which cost $101 million to clean in 1995.