Fri, July 23, 2010
China > Mainland > Dalian oil spill

Xingang Port in Dalian reopens following last week's oil spill

2010-07-23 05:52:36 GMT2010-07-23 13:52:36 (Beijing Time)  Global Times

An oil tanker docked at the Xingang Port in Dalian Thursday morning, the first tanker to enter Xingang following a pipeline explosion there one week ago.

The tanker is scheduled to pick up 35,000 tons of oil from Xingang at Xingang Port. The ship arrived two days after authorities lifted a partial ban Tuesday on maritime traffic.

"Following the oil control efforts in the Yellow Sea, the problem of oil pollution has been alleviated. Xingang has resumed operation," an official surnamed Hao at Dalian city CPC Committee told the Global Times Thursday.

Authorities have also used oil-consuming bacteria to disperse the slick, along with chemical agents and floating barges.

"The use of the oil-eating bacteria at the Dalian spill is the first time a major use of biotechnology to solve an environmental pollution problem," Micro-cleaner Biotechnology Corporation based in Beijing, which participated in the pollution control mission, told the Xinhua News Agency earlier.

The process, known as bioremediation, uses microorganisms to break down toxic hydrocarbons present in crude oil, into less harmful compounds.

It was used after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska, in 1989 which is a habitat for salmon, sea otters, seals and seabirds.

A professor from South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Global Times that the use of biotechnology is a trial in China since the technology is not so mature.

"Bioremediation can lead to secondary water quality impacts. The pollution caused by oil spill this time may threaten the marine life in the next three to five years at least," he said.

Two crude pipelines exploded in Xingang Port last Friday after a 300,000-tonne tanker unloaded oil, leading to an oil spill near Dalian.

China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) said Thursday that the two pipelines have resumed operation.

Nearly 45,000 tons of crude oil is being pumped through the pipeline.

However, authorities and volunteers are struggling to head off the black tides and curb the threat to wildlife caused by the oil spill.

According to the North China Sea Branch of State Oceanic Administration, oil spread to over 52.8 square kilometers as of Wednesday, an increase from the original 38 square kilometers.

China National Offshore Oil Corporation sent four oil collection tankers to collect 440 cubic meters of oil and 1,693 fishing boats were mobilized to scoop up 41.5 tons of crude oil Wednesday.

Hundreds of local volunteers placed absorbent mats along the shoreline to stop the slick from polluting beaches.

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