Chinese authorities gave no update Friday on the size of the oil spill, which had spread over at least 165 square miles (430 square kilometers) of water after a pipeline at the busy northeastern port of Dalian exploded a week ago.
The disaster has caused China to take a hard look at its ports, some of the busiest in the world.
The explosion was caused when workers continued to inject desulfurizer into the pipeline after a tanker had finished unloading oil, according to a statement posted Friday on the website of the State Administration of Work Safety. A desulfurizer is a chemical substance used to remove high sulfur content from crude oil.
The statement said the explosion remains under investigation. The pipeline is owned by China National Petroleum Corp., Asia’s biggest oil and gas producer by volume. State media have said oil operations at the Xingang port have resumed.
About 140 square miles of ocean by Dalian have been affected by the oil spill, China Daily reported. On Tuesday, a firefighter, Zhang Liang, 25, drowned when a wave knocked him from a boat into the ocean. Rescue workers were still toiling away on Thursday to contain the spill. The local government has mobilized hundreds of fishing boats, specialized cleaning vessels, “oil-eating” bacteria and volunteers, China Daily reported. Many volunteers are using just their hands to try to clean up the polluted water and the beaches.
Beijing Youth Daily cited an official saying that some workers were using chopsticks to try and clean up the mess.
From Al Jazeera: