The holed tanker responsible for South Korea’s worst-ever oil spill has finally been sealed by rescue workers. But the battle is continuing on shore to limit damage to a swathe of the country’s scenic and environmentally rich western coast. “We’re heavily dependent on the sea and there isn’t much of a future for us if it’s been contaminated,” one local resident said.
Feelings echoed by another who fears the “clean-up operation might take two or three years.” The oil started hitting the beaches at Daesan port on Saturday, a day after a Hong Kong registered supertanker was hit by a barge which broke away from its tugboat in rough seas.
A total of 66,000 barrels of crude gushed into the ocean. Dozens of coast guard vessels and six helicopters are trying to prevent the slick from spreading using a boom and chemical dispersants, but it is currently drifting in strong winds.