2007 South Korea oil spill

2007 South Korean oil spill
Map of Daesan port, South Korea
LocationDaesan port, South Korea
DateDecember 7, 2007; 10 years ago (2007-12-07)
CauseCollision of crane barge with MT Hebei Spirit
Spill characteristics
Area330,000 m2 (3,600,000 sq ft)
Shoreline impacted33 km (21 mi)
A volunteer worker collects oil from the beach
Police officers volunteering

The MT Hebei Spirit oil spill was a major oil spill in South Korea that began on the morning of 7 December 2007 local time, with ongoing environmental and economic effects. Government officials called it South Korea's worst oil spill ever, surpassing a spill that took place in 1995.[1][2] This oil spill was about one-third of the size of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.[3]


At about 7:30 local time on 7 December 2007 (2230 UTC on 6 December 2007), a crane barge owned by Samsung Heavy Industries being towed by a tug collided with the anchored Hong Kong registered crude carrier Hebei Spirit (Chinese: 河北精神號), carrying 260,000 tonnes (290,000 short tons) of crude oil. The incident occurred near the port of Daesan on the Yellow Sea coast of Taean County. The barge was floating free after the cable linking it to the tug snapped in the rough seas.

Although no casualties were reported, the collision punctured three of the five tanks aboard the Hebei Spirit and resulted in the leaking of some 10,800 tonnes (11,900 short tons) of oil.[4][5] The remaining oil from the damaged tanks was pumped into the undamaged tanks and the holes were sealed.[6][7]

The spill occurred near Mallipo Beach (in Taean County), considered one of South Korea's most beautiful and popular beaches.[8] The region affected by the spill is home to one of Asia's largest wetland areas, used by migratory birds, and also contains a national maritime park and 445 sea farms.[5]