Oil from Yeosu Spill Spreading East

Cleaning up Friday's oil spill in the waters off the southern port city of Yeosu in South Jeolla Province will be harder than initially expected, according to local authorities.

While volunteers and authorities are doing all they can to reduce damage from the accident, tidal currents and winds are apparently making the situation worse.

The oil has spread north, south and east from the original spill site to the coast of South Gyeongsang Province, where an oil slick measuring roughly 30 km in diameter has formed.

The spill happened after a Singapore-registered oil tanker hit a landing bridge, causing three underwater pipelines operated by GS Caltex to rupture. The Yeosu Coast Guard blames the tanker's pilots for exceeding the recommended speed on approach and GS Caltex for not reporting the spill until 30 minutes after it occurred.

Residents affected by the spill say they are worried the pollution could lead to health problems and impact fishing, a primary source of income for many in the area.

While officials say it is not difficult to get rid of the oil spilled in the water, the bigger problem lies on the seashore where the cleanup process could take weeks.

Arirang News / Feb. 05, 2014 11:37 KST