South Korea sues over oil spill

The World

The Hong Kong based company who is the owner of the super tanker and Samsung Heavy Industries who rammed the tanker are both accused of violating South Korean environmental laws. Their collision caused nearly 80,000 barrels of oil to spill into the waters. The chief officers from both ships and the tugboat towing the barge face negligence charges. Seven weeks after the disaster, there is still much clean up work to be done. The waters off the rocky beaches of this town are clear of any oil slicks, but the shoreline of this popular tourists destination is still coated in sludge. Volunteers dressed in white plastic jumpsuits carry trash bags filled with oily rags. According to officials, over 600,000 South Koreans from around the nation have pitched in since the spill. Volunteers like this 23 year old man say that despite the freezing cold, he wants to help out of a sense of patriotic duty. a truck lifts some of the larger rocks so that volunteers can scoop out of the polluted water beneath but most of the work is done by cleaning off the stones with towels. This volunteer shows me his filthy rag, he doesn’t seem too impressed with how the clean up effort is being conducted. The 25 year old says that the work isn’t really efficient, scrubbing rocks is not a good way to clean up the beach. And the governor of the devastated province says that more help is needed. The governor appealed for special equipment to help cleanse the beaches and dredge the ocean floor of lumps of congealed crude oil. Today residents of the affected region received close to $60 million dollars in compensation. The oil spill has ruined the area’s fisheries and tour spots, the backbone of the local economy. Some citizens are growing desperate. Three locals have already taken their own lives, and when the governor was speaking, several angry residents stormed city hall demanding more help.

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