Singapore-flagged Very Large Crude Carrier Wu Yi San collided with South Korean oil pipelines managed by GS Caltex at Yeosu port and the result is an oil spill that has to be cleaned. This environmental disaster occurred on January 31 when the Wu Yi San crashed into a shore jetty and a pipeline, the owner of the vessel, Ocean Tankers (Singapore) announced.
The South Korean Coast Guard reported for a 3 broken pipelines off the southeastern coast as a result of the collision of the VLCC vessel sailing with 278,584 mt of North Sea crude. The Singapore-flagged Wu Yi San crashed into a bridge connecting a pier. As a result of this incident, around 164 mt (1,202 barrels) of oil - crude oil, naphtha and other oil products were spilled. Because of the fast reaction of closing the pipelines the spill was stopped. The Coast Guard revealed that most of the spill was crude oil.
OTC spokeswoman informed that the ship was chartered to Shell. The company is helping in the clean-up operations. It is important to mark that there is no spill coming from the VLCC. Shell is not giving any information about the incident. The cleaning of the mess continues, it is not known when the operation will finish. The Coast Guard informed:
"A cleanup of the waters is almost completed, while a cleanup of the contaminated shore would take one or two weeks,"
South Korea had similar incident in the past (7 years ago), the spill then is known to be the worst oil spill in history. The single hulled VLCC Hebei Spirit spilled more than 10,000 mt of oil into the sea. As a result, a boost to tanker rates was seen. A chartering source with a Japanese refiner commented the situation:
"So far there is no impact of the South Korean oil spill on the VLCC rates because the availability is ample and demand is slow,"
A trader said:
"There's no big impact on the naphtha market. The No. 3 berth [operated by GS Caltex at Yeosu] can receive both crude and naphtha, so there should be no problem."
It is estimated that around 1,000 barrels of oil had spilled into the surrounding water. South Korea's Coast Guard suspects that the VLCC ship was sailing with higher than recommended speed while approaching the quay, but the investigation is expected to reveal the truth. The company operating the pipelines GS Caltex officially said that the incident will not damage the company's output.