Reuters, 28 April 2021
Clean-up crews worked on Wednesday to contain an oil spill in the Yellow Sea near the Chinese port city of Qingdao, a day after a tanker carrying around a million barrels of bitumen mix collided with a bulk vessel.
While a preliminary study by Chinese maritime officials estimated about 500 tonnes (3,420 barrels) of oil had been spilled, it was still unclear as to the how much had been emptied into the sea.
Here are some facts about oil spills and their impact on the environment.
“Heavier oils and crude generally don’t evaporate much and instead of dispersing they form emulsions with the sea water, are much more persistent, spread further and will sink and become mixed with sediments or on coastlines will smother the beaches, rocks,” said Sian Prior, lead advisor with the Clean Arctic Alliance coalition, which has sought to ban the use of heavy fuel oil by ships in the sensitive Arctic region.
“Bacteria will work to degrade these oils too but it takes longer. These types of oil spills lead to much greater volumes of oiled material being retrieved as they coat anything.”