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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

ROK ship sued over Yangtze toxic spill

(Xinhua)

08:30, March 15, 2012

NANJING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- A Republic of Korean (ROK) ship is being sued over a chemical spill that partially contaminated a source of drinking water in the Zhenjiang city section of the Yangtze River, the local government confirmed on Wednesday.

The Zhenjiang tap water company has submitted that the spill was caused by a ROK registered ship to the Wuhan Maritime Court, which has the jurisdiction over the region, said authorities with the Zhenjiang government.

The government of Zhenjiang confirmed that on Feb. 3 phenol levels collected in water samples were excessive. The pollution caused tap water in some parts of the city to emit a pungent smell, sending panicked residents to stockpile bottled water from supermarkets.

An investigation by Zhenjiang authorities found that the ROK registered cargo ship Gloria probably caused the chemical spill.

On Feb. 10, Wuhan Maritime Court ordered the Gloria to held in the docks of Nantong city and could only be released if its owner paid 20.6 million yuan (3.3 million U.S. dollars) to the court.

Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, is an organic compound that can irritate eyes and skin. Soluble in water, if absorbed in large amounts it can damage liver and kidney.

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