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Oil from Tanker Spill Reaches South Korea Beaches


South Korean officials say the country's worst-ever oil spill began washing onto the southwest coastline Saturday, polluting beaches and threatening valuable fish farms.

The coast guard says more than 100 naval and coast guard vessels and six helicopters have been sent to the site of the accident to help contain the spill.

Heavy winds and high seas hampered cleanup efforts Friday, but officials say the sea is calmer Saturday.

More than 10,000 tons of crude oil gushed into the Yellow Sea Friday after a barge struck a Hong Kong-registered supertanker anchored five kilometers off the coast of the port of Mallipo. Mallipo is located about 90 kilometers southwest of the capital of Seoul.

The collision left three holes in the 146,000-ton Hebei Spirit's hull.

The tanker was carrying more than 260,000 tons of crude oil. A maritime official says this is the largest oil spill in South Korea's history.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.