The Hong Kong-registered Hebei Spirit oil tanker spills oil on the sea after an accident in Taean, about 170km (106 miles) southwest of Seoul, December 7, 2007. Pile Photo: REUTERS/Yun Seok-ee/Yonhap
A tanker carrying Iranian oil and run by the country’s top oil shipping operator was ablaze and spewing cargo into the East China Sea on Sunday after colliding with a Chinese bulk ship, leaving its 32 crew members missing.
The Panama-registered tanker was sailing from Iran to South Korea, carrying 136,000 tonnes of condensate, an ultra light crude. That is equivalent to just under 1 million barrels.
The damage and volume of oil spilled are not yet known.
Tanker incidents causing large oil spills - greater than 700 tonnes - have steadily reduced from an average 24.5 a year in the 1970s to 1.7 on average per year since 2010, according to the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF).
Below is a list of the major oil tanker spills since 1970 from ITOPF’s database:
2007: Hebei Spirit off South Korea - 11,000 tonnes
2002: Prestige off Spain - 63,000 tonnes
1999: Erika off France - 20,000 tonnes
1996: Sea Empress off Wales, United Kingdom - 72,000 tonnes
1991: ABT Summer off Angola - 260,000 tonnes
1989: Khark 5 off Morocco - 70,000 tonnes
Exxon Valdez, Alaska - 37,000 tonnes
1983: Castillo de Bellver off South Africa - 252,000 tonnes
1979: Atlantic Empress in the Caribbean - 287,000 tonnes
The tonnages include all oil lost, including product which burnt or remained in a sunken vessel.