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Oil Spill Reported Off China Coast After Tanker, Bulk Carrier Collide

Tankers unload imported crude oil at the Qingdao crude oil terminal in east China's Shandong Province, in February. A tanker anchored off the port was reportedly hit by another vessel, causing an oil spill in the Yellow Sea.
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Tankers unload imported crude oil at the Qingdao crude oil terminal in east China's Shandong Province, in February. A tanker anchored off the port was reportedly hit by another vessel, causing an oil spill in the Yellow Sea.

A collision between an oil tanker and a bulk carrier off China's east coast port city of Qingdao on Tuesday has resulted in an oil spill in the Yellow Sea, China's maritime safety authority and the ship's Singapore-based operator said.

The nearly 900-foot tanker A Symphony was reportedly at anchor when the other vessel, Sea Justice (about 620 feet) apparently careened into it in waters southeast of Beijing.

"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," Goodwood Ship Management, which operates the Suezmax tanker, told Reuters.

Immediately "the master initiated emergency procedures onboard, mobilizing the vessel's oil spill response team and initiating an internal transfer to limit the loss of product," the operator said, suggesting that dense fog at the time might have been a factor.

"All of the crew have since been accounted for, and there are no injuries," the company said in an email. It said the collision occurred about 8:50 a.m. local time (8:50 p.m. Monday ET).

Reuters reported that the collision was also confirmed by China's Shandong Maritime Safety Administration. It said other ships had been warned to stay at least 10 nautical miles (11.5 miles) away from the site but gave no further details, according to The Associated Press.

S&P Global Platts, a London-based provider of energy news, quoted a source at Qingdao port as saying, "Oil has been spilled into the sea, hard to determine the amount, and it's difficult to predict how long it will [take to] be cleared."

In Malaysia earlier this month, the Liberian-flagged tanker A Symphony reportedly took on about 1 million barrels of bitumen — a viscous mixture of hydrocarbons used in road surfacing and roofing — before departing for China, Reuters reported.

A Symphony was built in 2001; Sea Justice is Panamanian flagged and was constructed in 2005.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.

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