China races to prevent oil slick spreading to open sea

21:36, July 21, 2010      

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Volunteers clean up the spilled oil on a beach in Shicao Village of Dalian, northeast China's Liaoning Province, July 21, 2010. Volunteers from Dalian Environment Protection Volunteer Association joined in clean-up work of spilled crude oil caused by the oil pipeline explosion occurred on July 16 in Dalian. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

China is speeding up its clean-up of an oil spill to stop it from spreading into the open ocean, five days after pipelines exploded here, causing a lingering oil spill that has spread to tourist beaches.

The slick has reached Dalian tourist attractions: the Golden Pebble Beach and the beach of Bangchui Island. One third of Golden Pebble Beach is covered by the greasy pollution, and large amounts of oil were also found on the beach of Bangchui Island, according to the State Oceanic Administration Wednesday.

Monitoring vessels could not conduct the daily survey of the oil spill Tuesday because of rough weather. According to Monday's survey, about 366 square kilometers of ocean was affected, including 52 square kilometers that were polluted and 12 square kilometers that were classified as "severely" polluted.

Clean-up staff are competing with the time to prevent the oil from reaching the international waters.

The Maritime Affairs Administration of Liaoning Province has mobilized all staff under the age of 50 to join in the clean-up, including helping direct sea traffic and clean up the slick.

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