China Struggles to Contain Oil Spill

The true extent of the largest oil spill in China became more pronounced on Thursday as experts warned that the crude that gushed from a pipeline that exploded last week could threaten the marine  life and the environment around the port of Dalian.

Cleanup workers with some using only rubber gloves struggled to contain the spill that has affected an estimated 430 square kilometers of water as of Thursday, even as China National Petroleum Corp. announced that it had repaired a pipeline affected by the blast on Friday. It is not clear how much oil has gushed over the last six days, although local media estimates the spillage at around 1,500 tons. CNPC said cleanup efforts have resulted in the removal of at least 400 tons of oil and that no more oil has been flowing into the waters since the repairs were completed.

However, cleanup operations have been hampered by lack of proper equipment, with workers forced to use rubber gloves and chopsticks, an official with the Jinshitan Golden Beach Administration Committee said. The problem with equipment has already caused the death of one worker, who drowned and whose body was seen covered in black oil.

Officials said 9 miles of oil barriers have been set up to prevent the spill from spreading while at least 800 fishing boats are also helping the clean up efforts.

Authorities have still to find out the cause of the explosion, which resulted in the reduction of oil supply to other parts of the country in the last few days.