More needs to be done to raise Shanghai's capability to deal with oil pollution at sea, an official from the Shanghai maritime administration (SMA) said yesterday.
"As an international shipping center, Shanghai needs more investment to build up its capacity in coping with oceanic emergencies," Chen Xiaoguang, director of the pollution prevention department of the SMA, said after the administration announced the purchase of an automatic oil skimmer barge for Shanghai Port.
The barge will be put into use on the upper reaches of the Huangpu River, where the city's water source is located. The 10 m long, 3 m wide vessel travels at 25 nautical miles an hour and can retrieve 36 cu m of spilt oil an hour.
"It will significantly raise our efficiency in recovering spilt oil," Chen said.
"We have drawn up a plan to build an emergency equipment storehouse, so we will be better equipped to cope with sea pollution," he said.
Figures from the local port and shipping bureau show Shanghai has been the world's busiest port in terms of cargo throughput for the past three years. Last year it handled 560 million tons, up more than 4 percent on 2006.
However, Chen said that increased capacity also means increased risk.
"As capacity increases, there looms the greater possibility of accidents," he said, citing the oil spill incident of Aug 5, 2003, which took three days to clear.
"Companies must be aware of the need for environmental protection and get involved in the process," he said.
(China Daily February 21, 2008)