Oil reaches shore in South Korea

Dec. 8, 2007 at 8:03 AM
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SEOUL, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A massive oil spill Saturday began reaching pristine beaches and fish farms on the South Korean coast.

An estimated 10,500 tons of oil were released into the water off South Chungcheong province Friday when the Hong Kong-registered oil tanker, Hebei Spirit, collided with a barge, Yonhap news agency reported Saturday.

The spill is the largest in South Korea's history.

Six helicopters and at least 70 private and government ships contained some of the oil while tides and wind pushed more of it toward Simnipo and Mohang, where the beaches turned black as the sand absorbed the oil, Yonhap reported.

An estimated 5,650 fish, oyster and abalone farms operate in the area, which also is popular with tourists.

"Once the oil reaches here, it's the end of farming," said Kang Tae-chang, 47, head of the fish farmers' organization in the village of Uihang-ri."

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