Chinese emergency services began the largest ever exercise to
tackle an oil spill in the Bohai Sea on Tuesday to test their
ability to protect the ocean environment.
The drill, which began at 9:30 AM, involved a scenario in which
a 10,000-ton oil tanker exploded and spilled 500 tons of oil.
Soon after the oil tanker Tianpeng "exploded,” a fireboat
arrived to fight the fire and a helicopter hovered above to spread
chemicals to control the oil spill.
The "spill" was comprised of fire-fighting foam that would cause
no pollution to the sea.
A total of 500 people participated in the exercise and 20
vessels and two aircraft were involved in the drill off the coast
of north China's port city of Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province, in clear
and calm conditions.
Oil exploitation and marine transportation have developed
rapidly in China, bringing increased risk of oil spills.
China experienced 2,635 oil spill accidents in its seas and
along its coastal areas from 1973 to 2006, including 69 major
accidents each involving at least 50 tons of oil and with a total
of 37,077 tons. On average, two such accidents took place per year,
with each spill involving 537 tons of oil.
The Bohai Bay, Yangtze River Estuary, Taiwan Strait and Pearl
River Estuary are four major Chinese sea areas at the greatest risk
for oil spills.
(Xinhua News Agency June 5, 2007)