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Tanker Collision Off Major Chinese Hub Causes Million Barrel Oil Spill

A tanker spilled oil into the Yellow Sea offshore the Qingdao port in China on Tuesday after a bulk carrier collided with the A Symphony Suezmax tanker, Goodwood Ship Management, the manager of the tanker, told Reuters.

The potential damage is a million barrels spilled.

Apart from potentially causing environmental damage, the collision and the oil spill could delay operations at the Qingdao port, the key oil-receiving hub in the Shandong province, home to most of the independent refiners in China.

According to Goodwood Ship Management, the bulk carrier Sea Justice collided with the oil tanker which was anchored at Qingdao.

“The force of the impact on the forward port side caused a breach in way of No. 2 Port ballast tank, with a quantity of oil lost into the ocean. All of the crew have since been accounted for, and there are no injuries,” Goodwood Ship Management told Reuters via email.

On Twitter, Suezmax Daily shared two photos of the breached hull of the vessel.

Reports of the A Symphony #Suezmax having a breach of double hull outside Qingdao. Info is circulating fast so checking the validity. #oil #oott #shipping #freight pic.twitter.com/MZZN2TDNmd

Vessels close to the site of the collision are instructed to keep a distance of at least 10 nautical miles (11.5 miles) away from the area, Bloomberg quoted China’s maritime safety agency as saying in an alert. 

Containment and clean-up operations for the oil spill are being delayed by poor visibility that has closed the port of Qingdao. 

Authorities are still at the stage of emergency response and have not yet evaluated the pollution level or the damage the spill has caused or could further cause to the sea, an official at the Maritime Safety Administration told Bloomberg.

An official at a Qingdao-based shipping agency told Argus that the incident appears to have had no impact on the schedule for vessel arrivals at the port.

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The port Qingdao is a major crude oil import terminal, and a key import hub for the independent refiners—the so-called ‘teapots’—which account for more than one-fifth of all crude oil imports of China, the world’s top oil importer.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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