SEOUL/SINGAPORE Feb 3 Teams of workers, aided
by ships and aircraft, will complete on Monday the sea cleanup
of 164,000 litres of oil that leaked off South Korea's southern
coast, the coast guard said, after a pipeline run by GS Caltex
Corp cracked at the weekend.
A cleanup of shore areas will take up to two weeks.
The crack and subsequent leak occurred on Friday at a quay
off Yeosu, more than 300 km (185 miles) south of Seoul, while
the 318,445 deadweight tonne Very Large Crude Carrier Wu Yi San
was preparing to berth and offload crude.
Oil remaining in the pipeline leaked, but none spilled from
the tanker, which did not hit refinery production at GS Caltex,
according to the refiner and the Korea Coast guard.
"A clean up would be completed within today, while a clean
up of the seashore would take one or two weeks," a senior
official at the Yeosu Coast Guard of Korea told a press briefing
broadcast live on television.
The Prime Minister's Office, in a statement issued on
Sunday, said an oil boom to control the spillage would be
expanded to a diameter of 9.5 km from 5 km, and 201 vessels and
five planes would work on the clean up.
The coast guard official said the tanker was suspected of
approaching the quay at a higher than recommended speed, but the
exact cause of the accident was under investigation.
He added that crude oil, naphtha and other oil compounds
leaked from three cracked pipelines at the quay.
The tanker is operated and managed by Singapore's Ocean
Tankers, which said the vessel was under the control of two port
pilots and assisted by five harbour tugs when it struck the
shore jetty and pipeline.
Surveyors from ship safety classification society ABS and
the ship's insurer, the North of England P&I Association, are
helping the investigation and assessing damage to the ship, said
Ng Kwang Chiau, senior vice president at Ocean Tankers' fleet
He said the ship's voyage data recorder, or "black box",
would be analysed as part of the investigation. The company, he
said, was co-operating with the probe and clean-up.
NO SPILL FROM SHIP
There were no injuries to the crew, Ng said. The front of
the ship sustained minor damage, but the vessel was safely
The ship was chartered to Shell, Ng said and talks
would take place with the oil major about unloading options, he
South Korea's second-largest refiner, with a
775,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) capacity, GS Caltex is equally
owned by Chevron Corp, the second-largest U.S. oil
company, and South Korea's GS Energy, owned by GS Holdings
In 2007, South Korea's worst oil spill occurred off the
coast of Taean, when 10,500 metric tonnes spilled from a Hong
Kong-registered tanker whose hull was punctured in a collision.
In November 2013, a small amount of oil leaked into the sea
east of South Korea from a cracked pipeline run by the country's
top refiner, SK Energy, owned by SK Innovation.