China Dalian oil spill cleaned 9 days after accident

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Nearly 8,000 workers and hundreds of fishing boats have managed to clean up the oil spill off the major northern Chinese port Dalian, nine days after a pipeline blast leaked 1,500 metric tons of heavy crude into the sea.

“By 6 p.m. (6 a.m. ET) yesterday, the oil spill has been all removed and the slick has basically been cleaned...the contamination has not spread to international waters or the Bohai Sea,” the official Dalian Daily cited government officials as saying on Monday.

Around the same time Dalian reopened two berths at its Xingang oil terminal, each able to dock 150,000 dead weight tonnage tankers and 80,000 dwt vessels, Dalian Port Co, which owns part of the facilities, said on Sunday.

The authorities had mobilized 800 fishing boats together with specialist clean-up vessels, using dispersants, absorbents and oil-eating bacteria to clean up the more than 180 square kilometer slick.

By Monday morning, the 150,000-tonnage No.1 was receiving a crude tanker, after some of the refined fuel berths reopened since mid-last week, a Dalian-based shipping official told Reuters.

But the main crude terminal, able to receive 300,000-tonne very large crude carriers, remained shut, after an explosion on July 16 ripped two main crude pipelines and a nearby crude depot, which industry officials estimated would take weeks to repair.

Its closure had forced state oil firm PetroChina, which operates most of the storage facilities at Xingang port, to temporarily cut refinery production and divert crude cargoes.

Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Jacqueline Wong