U.S. firm aids response to South Korea's largest oil spill

U.S. based environmental technology solutions company Applied Science Associates (ASA) provided computer models and simulations to China's Oil Spill Emergency Response Center for monitoring and forecasting spilled oil from the worst oil spill in South Korean history. On Dec. 7, 2007, the oil tanker Hebei Spirit, anchored 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Seoul, was pierced by a crane-carrying barge, releasing 10,500 metric tons of crude oil into the sea...

Jan 9th, 2008

NARRAGANSETT, RI, Jan. 8, 2008 -- U.S. based environmental technology solutions company Applied Science Associates (ASA) provided computer models and simulations to China's Oil Spill Emergency Response Center for monitoring and forecasting spilled oil from the worst oil spill in South Korean history.

On Dec. 7, 2007, the oil tanker Hebei Spirit, anchored 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Seoul, was pierced by a crane-carrying barge, releasing 10,500 metric tons of crude oil into the sea.

The oil came ashore along a 300-kilometer stretch of shoreline on Korea's west coast, a region that is a very active with fisheries. The spill resulted in blackened beaches, birds coated in oily tar and a foul smell over a nature reserve.

Korea's neighbors in China offered support to Korea based on the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) Northwest Pacific Action Plan. ASA's OILMAP oil spill modeling response system is used in China and the Oil Spill Emergency Response Center of China's Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) asked ASA for support. Dr. Xiongping Zhang, ASA's Asia Project Director, provided modeling services to predict the trajectory and fate of the spill right after the accident. OILMAP connects to ASA's COASTMAP real-time environmental data server (EDS), which aggregates crucial Metocean data from various sources to increase the accuracy of the spill predictions. Dr. Zhang also answered the question to China MSA for potential impact of the spill to the China coast using OILMAP's stochastic simulation based on the environmental data over the past twenty years.

ASA's OILMAP predicted an oil trajectory. Days later, an Envisat satellite image released by European Space Agency showed the extent of the oil and confirmed the accuracy of the OILMAP prediction; this remotely-sensed observation provided added confidence to MSA's response planning strategy.

China and Japan also sent 100 tons of dispersant and experts under a UN emergency response plan to help South Korea mitigate the spill. The prospects for environmental rehabilitation after the spill are good due to "quick and effective action" by the Korean and other authorities, a joint United Nations-European Commission Assessment Team has found.

Applied Science Associates (ASA) is a global science and technology solutions company with services and products specialized in the analysis of marine, freshwater, air, and land resources; computer modeling of physical, chemical, and biological processes; geographic information systems (GIS); operational research; and data display.

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