Yellow Sea turns black from China oil spill

The recent China oil spill is located in Dalian.

Dalian, China (Photo: Ash-rly/Flickr/cc by-nd)

An oil slick is covering the Yellow Sea following a recent pipeline explosion. Efforts are already under way in containing the China oil spill, as oil gathering vessels have already started to soak up as much of the oil as possible. The oil slick already covers about 165 square miles of water. So far, it is nowhere close to the size of the BP oil spill off the Gulf coast.

The China oil spill began with exploding pipelines

An oil pipeline exploded in Dalian, a port in Liaoning province. It is one of the largest shipping centers in China. The explosion dumped thousands of tons of oil into the ocean, and the spill was set aflame by the explosion. It took 15 hours for firefighters to put out the lion’s share of the blaze. Oil containment workers began work as soon as it was possible to clean up the China oil spill, using more than 1,000 vessels and oil consuming bacteria.

Response to spill was fast

Tourist beaches were closed down, but normal shipping activity returned by Tuesday afternoon. The fire was extinguished early, but original estimates of the size of the oil slick underestimated the amount of oil that had been released. The estimates for the area of water covered by oil have doubled as of Wednesday, though it is still far smaller than the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The China oil spill covers less than 200 square miles, and the BP oil spill is about 10 times that size. The government in Dalian estimates the spill will be cleaned up in a week or two. It is the second largest oil receiving port in China.

Greenpeace sounds off

Greenpeace put out a statement saying the China oil spill was a reminder of the risks of dependence on fossil fuels. The Gulf oil spill and the countless accidents of coal mining were mentioned as well. The pipelines that exploded were at an oil storage facility owned by the China National Petroleum Corporation.

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