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The non-normal death of shellfish caused by oil leak [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2011-7-9 10:31:47 |Display all floors
From the early June, oil slicks have steadily floated to the sea shore in Changdao, Shandong province.

One guy said that he found himself to be a black guy after he went sea swimming.

One worker of Yueliangwan scenic spot said that they first found a small stream of oil slicks. Later piles of oil slicks left in the crevices in the rock. Person in charge of Yueliangwan scenic spot, Sun Shijie, said that it took them a long time to clean up the seashore.

Local fish farmers complained that tons of shellfish died lately.

One government official in Sea and fish farming surveillance department of Shandong province said, the oil leak from sea bottom is deadly and would bring more harms than previous oil leak from a ship in Da Lian seaport.  

The official also worried about the large amount of dispersant. He heard that more than 20 ships spilled dispersant after oil leak. The depth of Bohai Sea is less than 30 meters. Many countries in Europe prohibit the usages of dispersant in the less than 50-meter-deep water area. One type of dispersant used by BP in gulf of Mexico was prohibited by U.S.A because it poisons red cells, liver, and kidney.

The government official in sea and fish farming surveillance department of Changdao (country-town level government) are investigating in the polluted area. One vice director of that department, Zheng Shaohua, said they have found where the oil was from. Another government official complained that Changdao was often harassed by oil leak from 2006. Every year, they have reported the high ranking government officials after tons of complaints from local fish farmers. The high ranking government officials came to investigate every year. However, no conclusion was made yet. "The major problem is that we can't make sure whether oil leaks were from oil drilling platform, or the passing ships, or the sea bottom itself."

How to make sure?
There are 2 departments in charge of sea surveillance in local area. One is the country-town level government, Changdao government. Another is the provincial government, Shandong government.

The government official in Changdao government said they don't have the basic equipment. They have to visit by themselves as much as possible. The government official in Shandong government said they have a few of equipments. However, the equipments are not enough to detect and get a conclusion.

[ Last edited by 468259058 at 2011-7-9 10:48 AM ]
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Post time 2011-7-9 10:32:28 |Display all floors
source: a newspaper in Beijing
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Post time 2011-7-9 10:33:40 |Display all floors


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Post time 2011-7-9 10:45:09 |Display all floors
Changdao is 40 sea miles away from Penglai oil drilling platform in Baohai Sea.

Changdao is composed of a string of islands. It was the richest country town in Shandong of 1990s.

Changdao is located in Huang Sea (Yellow Sea).
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Post time 2011-7-9 10:46:28 |Display all floors
Chinese oil spill half the size of London went unreported for a month

It has taken a month and an 840 square km oil slick, but the government has finally admitted to a seabed leak from wells in the Bohai Sea

Polluted water. Murky information. Public anger. Government promises of transparency and oversight to prevent a recurrence. And then, a short time later, it all happens again.

Watching the 840 square km oil slick now polluting China's Bohai Sea and listening to the excuses of the companies and officials involved, it is hard to avoid a sense of deja-vu.

It has taken a month for news to emerge about the leak from a well in the Penglai 19-3 field operated by the US energy company ConocoPhillips in partnership with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation and .

The companies detected the problem on 4 June, but it only came to light on 21 June thanks to a microblog leak rather than an official release. After initially downplaying the accident, the authorities finally revealed this week that it covers an area half the size of Greater London.

The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said on Tuesday that the seabed leak is the first of its kind in China and the water quality in the affected area has fallen to the lowest of its four categories.

Information remains sketchy. Neither company has responded to The Guardian's request for details. Despite vague reassurances from CNOOC on Wednesday that problem is "basically under control", there has been no estimate of the amount of oil discharged or the potential impact on marine life and coastlines. The government also revealed that the maximum penalty for such incidents is 200,000 yuan (£19,000). Compensation is likely to be considerably higher.

Xinhua, the state newswire, has blamed the US oil company for the leak and quoted officials who claimed the slow release of official information was due to "technical limits".

But the English language Global Times, which appeals to an international audience, boldly asked whether relations between government regulators and industry were too close.

"We cannot help but wonder: Is the SOA a serious watchdog that exists to prevent bigger incidents from happening, or a loving parent who is over-protective of his own child?...It is not acceptable that the SOA, which had learned about the incident in early June, held the news until a month later.

The Economic Observer, one of China's feistiest publications, accused China National Offshore Oil Corporation of hiding the accident in an act of "savage public relations".

Bloggers and environmental groups have been up in arms. Li Yan of Greenpeace said the authorities have failed to leans the lessons of pipeline explosion in Dalian last July.

Then as now, the environmental impact of the accident was initially downplayed by the authorities, but it was later recognised as China's worst known oil spill. Greenpeace claimed the scale of the leak was 60 times greater than reported.

The deja-vu is global. Industrial accidents and cover-ups happen all over the world. As my colleagues reported this week, there were more than 100 unpublicised oil and gas spills from European and American wells in the North Sea between 2009 and 2010.

China also has a dark history in this regard. I am particularly reminded of the botched cover up of the 2005 benzene spill into the Songhua river by the China National Petroleum Corporation.

Company executives and local government officials insisted at the time that water supplies were contaminated. As the toxic slick flowed towards Harbin, millions of residents were initially told their water supplies needed to be cut for several days for "routine pipe maintainance".

This was exposed as an outrageous lie, provoking a short-lived media outcry and promises of regulatory reform. Six-years on, not much seems to have changed. The authorities and state-owned oil industry are just as close, and their first instinct still seems to be to plug the news before the pollution.

source: environment blog in guardian website
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Post time 2011-7-9 11:01:01 |Display all floors

NGOs aim lawsuit at bay polluters

Groups plan to file joint actionover oil spill

BEIJING - Eleven environmental protection groups on Friday vowed to file a joint lawsuit against the companies responsible for the oil leak in Bohai Bay.

The public interest litigation, which will be submitted to the courts next week, could result in ConocoPhillips China (COPC) and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) being ordered to pay compensation.

"Before the litigation, we'll be sending them a formal letter on Monday that demands the two companies organize or assist environmental protection groups to go to the scene of the spill and check the cleanup process and the pollution situation," said Feng Yongfeng, founder of Green Beagle, one of the 11 NGOs.

He said that on Thursday the groups sent a joint letter to stock exchanges in Hong Kong and New York calling for an investigation into whether the companies failed to disclose information in a timely fashion.

The oil leak was first detected on June 4, but COPC and CNOOC remained silent until the spill was exposed to the public by the media late in the month.

The 11 organizations also sent an open letter to COPC and CNOOC on Monday calling for an apology for not immediately disclosing the specifics of the incident.

Public interest litigations are aimed at protecting communities and private individuals, and can be filed on behalf of victims by a third party.

"The victims of this marine pollution are immeasurable and it's almost impossible for any one person to file a case, so public interest litigation is necessary," said lawyer Wang Haijun at Beijing Deheheng Law Firm, which is acting for the environmental groups.

According to the first regional regulation on ecological compensation for marine pollution in Shandong province released in 2010, ecological compensation is set at 10 million yuan ($1.54 million) for every 0.5 sq km of seawater affected and 200 million yuan for every 10 sq km.

The leak from the Penglai 19-3 oilfield in Bohai Bay, operated by COPC, had polluted an area of more than 840 sq km as of Monday, according to statistics from the State Oceanic Administration on Tuesday.

Any compensation resulting from the litigation will be used to restore the marine environment and compensate possible victims, said Wang.

Although a fishing moratorium began on June 1 in Bohai Bay, the oil leak will influence the growth of fish, causing long-term impacts to fisheries and the environment, an unnamed official from Changdao county's oceanic and fishery bureau told Economic Herald on Friday.

However, the groups first need to get their case heard, said lawyer Wang, who added: "We're not even sure the court will accept our case with 11 NGOs as the plaintiffs."

A spokesman for COPC declined to comment on the planned litigation, saying the company has yet to receive any document or request from the groups.

An insider at CNOOC, meanwhile, told China Daily on Friday that they will react according to the detailed requirements in the formal letter when they receive it.

Wang Bin, deputy director of marine protection at the State Oceanic Administration, said at a briefing on Tuesday that the ecological compensation is under discussion.

However, despite that briefing and another held by the two companies on Wednesday, one month after the incident, no estimates on the amount of oil spilled and an exact explanation on how the leak happened have yet been given.

Lu Bo, deputy general manager of the CNOOC, said his company has made every effort to aid the cleanup since June 4 and plans to release further details of the incident after investigations with COPC, Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday.

Facing so much criticism over transparency, he said CNOOC will reflect on the way it has dealt with the situation.

However,  Yongzhi, Beijing-based spokesman for Hong Kong-listed CNOOC, told Xinhua that a listed company is answerable to its investors and only when all facts are clear can it release the information to the public.

China Daily
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Post time 2011-7-9 11:01:43 |Display all floors
By Wang Qian and Zhou Yan (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-07-09 07:55
China Daily 07/09/2011 page1
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