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Taean National Park Oil Spill, South Korea


South Korea's worst oil-spill caused by a collision of a crane-barge owned by Samsung Heavy Industries with the Hong Kong registered oil tanker "Habei Spirit" occured in December 2007.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Taean National Park Oil Spill, South Korea
Country:Republic of Korea
Location of conflict:Taen
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Aquaculture and fisheries
Specific commodities:Fish
Project Details and Actors
Project details

11 000 tons of oil were spilt.

Type of populationRural
Affected Population:126,000
Start of the conflict:07/12/2007
Company names or state enterprises:Samsung Heavy Industries
Samsung Group from Republic of Korea
Relevant government actors:Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Maritime affairs and Fisheries
International and Finance InstitutionsInternational Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Fishermen's associations, Local EJOs
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Oil spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Court decision (undecided)
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Mobilisation centered around compensation and also identification of responsible institutions for oil-spill and clean-up. In early 2013, a court recognized the right to be compensated but with much smaller amounts than expected by affected populations [1].
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

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Taean transforms from black waters to clean sea
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South Korea counts cost of national park oil spill
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[1] Court provides compensation to victims of Korea’s biggest ever oil spill
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Social Impacts of the Taean Oil Spill: An International Perspective

C. P. Wolf , Social Impact Assessment Center

New York, NY
[click to view]

Other comments:International news coverage of the oil-spil: Al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN....
Articles in Korea Times: 9. 12. 2007. Los Angeles Times17. 07. 2011
Meta information
Contributor:Louis Lemkow
Last update02/06/2014
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