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May 21, 2012

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Fuel oil cleanup goes on, reservoirs closed

THE greasy dirt spotted along the south bank of Shanghai's Changxing Island after the sinking of a fuel ship was expected to be cleaned up by last night, while the city's major reservoirs in the Yangtze River likely will remain closed for three days, authorities said yesterday.

The Shanghai Maritime Administration said it had dispatched 19 ships to the scene to clean the dirt since Saturday, and large pieces of greasy dirt had been removed by yesterday. More than 2,330 meters of oil fence and tons of oil-absorption felt were set out to control the pollution, officials said.

The leak was on the south side of the Changxing Island where Qingcaosha Reservoir, the city's biggest, is located. The leak did not affect the water in the reservoir, said Zhu Yiping, vice manager of the reservoir.

"The pollution area was around 2.5 kilometers away from the reservoir and was closer to the mouth of the river," Zhu said.

Water monitoring has been ongoing around the clock by environmental and maritime authorities, officials said.

"We'll open the water gate as soon as the alert is lifted," Meng Mingqun, director of the water supply division of the Shanghai Water Authority. "But it will be difficult within three days."

The city's tap water quality was not affected by the incident, authorities said.

Rescuers were alerted at 8:40pm on Friday when the Tongyin No. 6 reported being swamped during a gale at the mouth of Wusong port, close to the river's mouth. The crew of nine people were rescued.

Salvage teams refloated the ship but oil was later spotted close to the reservoir, said maritime officials. Three major reservoirs around the area - Qingcaosha, Chenghang and Baogang - were closed.


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