South Korean emergency services are strugging to contain an environmental disaster after oil from a ruptured tanker reached the coastline and valuable seafarms. An estimated 10,000 tonnes of crude has spilled from a Hong Kong registered tanker hit by a barge on Friday. More than 20 naval vessels and dozens of oil skimmers have been dispatched to help contain the slick.
The tanker began leaking oil after a crane mounted on a barge punched holes in its hull while the vessel was anchored off Daesan port – around 100 km from the capital, Seoul. Heavy winds and high waves have hampered efforts to contain the spill but seas are expected to be calmer over the weekend. The region is popular for its beaches and home to a national park. It is also an important rest stop for migratory birds.