Government: China cleaning up oil after tanker collision

A huge tanker spilled hundreds of tonnes of oil into the Yellow Sea after it collided with a bulk vessel in thick fog two days ago

A dozen vessels on April 29 are at work cleaning up about 400 tons of oil that spilled into the sea from a tanker following a collision off one of China’s busiest ports, the maritime safety agency said.

The tanker A Symphony was struck on April 27 by a cargo ship, the Sea Justice, in the Yellow Sea outside Qingdao, southeast of Beijing. The tanker’s manager said some cargo and ballast tanks were ruptured. No injuries were reported.

The Maritime Safety Administration’s one-sentence announcement gave no other details.

An official at the Shandong Maritime Safety Administration told Reuters the level of oil still on the tanker, which had been carrying a 1,50,000-tonne cargo of bitumen blend, remained "unchanged". That indicated the spill had been contained, although the official cautioned the information was not definitive.

With the clean-up well underway and ships steering clear of the accident site near the port city of Qingdao, experts were finalising plans to deal with the A Symphony.

Ships have been instructed to stay at least 10 nautical miles away from the A Symphony, but the agency said on Thursday the accident had not affected traffic to and from the port.

Hong Kong-based fuel trading company Run Cheng International Resource (HK) Co. has said it was the owner of the 1,50,000-tonne cargo of bitumen blend on board the A Symphony.

Bitumen mix, a blend of heavy crude oil and residue, is used by China’s independent refiners as an alternative refining feedstock as it often incurs a lower import tax than crude oil. It is also used for road surfacing and roofing.

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