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May 20, 2012

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City reservoirs closed following oil leak

RESERVOIRS supplying the majority of Shanghai's water have been closed after a fuel ship sank at the mouth of the Yangtze River on Friday night, the city government said yesterday.

But the authorities have assured city residents that water supplies will not be affected by the closure.

The crew of nine were rescued from fuel transporter the Tongyin No. 6 and the ship refloated, the maritime authority said yesterday.

The Shanghai Maritime Administration, the regional task force on the Yangtze River Delta, said that "greasy dirt" was spotted along the south bank of Shanghai's Changxing Island after the oil ship sunk yesterday morning.

A clean-up operation is under way, said the administration, which did not disclose how much oil leaked in the incident.

The ship belongs to the Shanghai Tongyin Petrochemical Co, said the authorities. According to the company's website, the Tongyin No. 6 can carry 500 tons of goods.

The city government said yesterday via its official Weibo microblog that the leak "did not affect the water quality in the city's water resources as the major reservoirs, the Qingcaosha, Chenhang and Baogang, were all closed from taking in water after the incident."

Officials also gave assurances that tap water supplies would be maintained.

Rescuers were alerted at 8:40pm on Friday when the ship reported being swamped during a gale at the mouth of Wusong port, close to the delta mouth.

The crew were rescued and taken to another ship an hour later, said maritime officials.

Salvage teams refloated the Tongyin No. 6 late yesterday morning but oil was later spotted close to the reservoir, said maritime officials.

Emergency measures had been carried out to limit the effect of the oil leak and the authority is inspecting the water in the area over the weekend, the government said.

Qingcaosha Reservoir -- Shanghai's biggest water source - and the smaller Chenhang Reservoir provide more than 70 percent of the city's water supply, while the Baogang Reservoir is mainly for industry use.

With a capacity of 435 million cubic meters, the Qingcaosha Reservoir is designed to be able to supply the city's water needs for 68 days without taking in more water from the Yangtze.

The Chenhang Reservoir, which supplies parts of the north of Shanghai, has reserves for less than six days.


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