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Bad weather hampers Hebei Spirit clean up as VLCC rates spike

Seoul: Strong winds and rough seas are hampering authorities efforts to clean up Korea's worst ever oil spill on its west coast today. Around 10,500 tonnes of crude oil has leaked out of the HOSCO-owned Hebei Spirit since last weekend when a crane barge owned by Samsung broke its moorings and crashed into the stationary VLCC. Seoul has drawn 7.5bn Won from its reserves to desperately fight off the oil onslaught plaguing the renowned fishing area around Taean.
The clamour for a rapid phase out of single hull tankers has spiked freight rates for VLCCs to a two year high from Arabian Gulf to the Far East, crossing the W200 mark.
"If Korea or all the countries came out in mass and said no more single hulls ever again, obviously that would sky rocket the double hull rates further," said Mike Reardon, vice president of research and marketing, International Maritime Exchange .
"So people have to decide whether they expect a full phase-out of ships immediately or should abide by the 2010 IMO rule," he said in a telephone interview to Reuters from Houston.  [13/12/07]


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