World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


S. Korea Expected To Declare Spill Disaster Area

By Kurt Achin

S. Korea Expected to Declare Oil Spill a Disaster Area

South Korean officials say they will declare a long stretch of the country's western coastline a disaster area. The move makes residents and businesses eligible for compensation as an enormous oil spill devastates wildlife and fishing resources along the coast. Even with thousands of workers mobilized, the cleanup is expected to take months.

More than 100 boats and nearly 9,000 soldiers, police and civilians fought to limit the damage along the west coast of South Korea Monday as oil from a punctured tanker washes ashore near the city of Taean.

South Korean officials say more than 10,000 tons of crude oil are coating a 45-kilometer long stretch of coast after a barge accidentally punched holes in a giant oil tanker on Friday.

The economic and environmental costs are expected to soar, as the area is dense with fisheries and marine wildlife. The owners of several hundred shellfish farms say their entire stocks have been wiped out. Costs from a much smaller oil spill in 1995 reached $96 million.

Ji Hun-geun, of the Korean Federation for Environmental Movements, is one of the many volunteers at the site. He said the surface of the sea is all black, and it is incredibly difficult to dispose of the oil by hand. He says he and other volunteers are finding dead birds everywhere, and he believes there are many areas where not a single bird has survived.

South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said the government will do its best to spare residents the worst effects of the accident. He said the government is ready to compensate those who have been victimized by the accident.

South Korean law provides for the distribution of millions of dollars in state subsidies and relief payments after authorities formally label a region a special disaster area.

Experts say cleaning up an oil slick of this size is likely to take about two months. The residual damage from oil absorbed into the environment is expected to last far longer.

Criticism is already pointing in two directions, and is likely to grow louder in the days ahead: first, at the South Korean Samsung Heavy Industries Corporation, which operated the barge that punctured the tanker. Second, at the government, which is accused of being inadequately prepared for such a disaster, despite the lessons from the 1995 oil spill.


SEE: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives | RSS

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>


Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC