Chinese port closed after 'severe' oil spill

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The Independent Online

One of China's biggest ports, Dalian, shut yesterday after a pipeline explosion triggered a major offshore oil spill, forcing a refinery to cut processing and importers to divert cargo.

The aftermath of the weekend fire could disrupt shipments of oil, iron ore and soy and add to pressure for stricter environmental standards in China. The fire began on Friday while a crude oil tanker was being off-loaded.

Nobody was hurt, but hundreds of firefighters battled for more than 15 hours to control the fire, and state media said about 1,500 tonnes of oil had spilled into the sea, causing a 183 sq km slick, 50 sq km of which was "severe".

Of the 50 sq km area, 20 sq km had been cleaned up and 160 tonnes of oil had been collected, it was reported yesterday. The clean-up operation may take five days.