NARRAGANSETT, RI – ASA’s Dr. Xiongping Zhang provides support to China’s Oil Spill Emergency Response Center–working on monitoring and forecasting spilled oil from the worst oil spill in South Korean history.
On December 7, 2007, the oil tanker Hebei Spirit, anchored 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Seoul, was pierced by a crane-carrying barge, releasing 10,500 metric tons of crude oil into the sea.
The oil came ashore along a 300 kilometer stretch of shoreline on Korea’s west coast, a region that is a very active with fisheries. The spill resulted in blackened beaches, coated birds in oily tar and cast a foul smell over a nature reserve.
Korea’s neighbors in China offered support to Korea based on the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Northwest Pacific Action Plan. ASA’s OILMAP oil spill modeling response system is used in China and the Oil Spill Emergency Response Center of China’s Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) asked ASA for support. Dr. Xiongping Zhang, ASA?s Asia Project Director, provided modeling services to predict the trajectory and fate of the spill right after the accident. OILMAP connects to ASA’s COASTMAP real-time environmental data server (EDS), which aggregates crucial Metocean data from various sources to increase the accuracy of the predictions. Dr. Zhang also answered the question to China MSA for potential impact of the spill to China coast using OILMAP stochatic simulation based on the environmental data over the past twenty years.
China and Japan also sent 100 tons of dispersant and experts under a UN emergency response plan to help South Korea mitigate the spill. The prospects for environmental rehabilitation after the spill are good due to “quick and effective action” by the Korean and other authorities, a joint United Nations-European Commission Assessment Team has found.