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Drill rehearses oil spill disaster plan
By Tian Xiuzhen (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-08-06 02:07

An oil clean-up exercise was held Thursday morning on the Huangpu River near Wujing Thermal Power Plant in Minghang District to commemorate a spill case that occurred on the same day one year ago.

"The place is crucial because it is near the water source of the power plant and the city's water source along the upper reaches is not far away," said Ma Jun, director of the Wujing Maritime Office under the Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration.

"Any delay in preventing the spread of the spill and the clean-up will affect the power supply and water security of the city," he said.

He revealed that all "chemicals" used in the drill were replaced by ordinary tap water so as not to exert any harm to the river.

Ma was also the on-the-spot commander of the manoeuvre which was started at 9:30 am when the cargo ship Changyun, a sister of Changyang which leaked 100 tons of fuel oil in the river last year, was reported to be rammed and let out 30 tons of "fuel oil."

While the crew attempted to stop the leak, the captain of Changyun reported the case to the jurisdictional Wujing Maritime Office under the Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration.

The office immediately activated an emergency plan, sending out yachts to investigate the case and prevent the pollution from spreading.

The administration activated members of the municipal emergency system for oil spills on Shanghai waters -- the Shanghai Municipal Water Authority and Shanghai Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.

The Shanghai Dong'an Offshore Oil-spill Emergency Centre and relative shipping companies were mobilized to dash to the spot.

Five clean-up boats, four guardships, one command ship and about 200 workers along with a good number of oil-removing materials were mobilized and consumed in the one-hour drill.

The accident occurred here on August 5, 2003 was claimed to be the most serious one in Shanghai since 1949 because it is quite near the water sources that feed 70 per cent of local residents.

"The drill we have been preparing in the past month aims to improve the offshore salvage and clean-up capacity and the co-ordination capacity of administrators," said Zhou Fangzhen, deputy director of the Division of Dangerous Goods Control and Pollution Prevention under the municipal maritime authority.

The drill is also a proof-test of the Emergency Plan of Ship Pollution on Shanghai Waters the authority has established.

Data showed that Shanghai is facing more dangers from the water as between 1999 and 2003, 101 spill cases occurred with 2,319 tons of oil leaked into the waters, and the trend continues to become increasingly serious.

Experts said local administrative regulations should be established to provide legal protection of the water environment and a warehouse of advanced equipment and a special fund should be set up to secure the undertaking.

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