Taean Environment Recovers Pre-Oil Spill Health

      July 31, 2013 13:09

      The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries on Tuesday said the coast of southwestern Korea, which suffered a devastating oil spill in 2007, has officially recovered to its former state.

      On Dec. 7, 2007, the crude oil carrier Hebei Spirit collided with a crane barge of Samsung Heavy Industries 10 km northwest of Mallipo, Taean, South Chungcheong Province, which resulted in leakage of over 10,000 kl of oil on the sea.

      Top: Black strips of oil are formed around the Mallipo Beach after an oil spill in December 2007; Bottom: the coast of Taean has recovered to its pre-spillage state.

      A ministry spokesman said, "We commissioned the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology to examine the environment of the troubled coast in March this year, and the quality of seawater and the density of oil in Mallipo meet international standards and sediment quality guidelines." The figures suggest that the environment has been restored to the quality it enjoyed before the spill.

      Pollution levels of fishery products like oysters and fish are now normal. The ministry believes that without the work of 2.13 million volunteers from around the country who came to clean up oil on the beach in the early stages, it would have been impossible for the area to recover within five-and-a-half years.

      However, the compensation battles of local residents are not over yet. In January this year, the Daejeon District Court set the total damage caused by the spill at W73.41 billion (US$1=W1,114), only one-fifth of W3.5 trillion that the locals demanded.

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