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
NameTaean National Park Oil Spill, South Korea
CountryRepublic of Korea
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 CommoditiesFish
Project Details and Actors
Project Details11 000 tons of oil were spilt.
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population126,000
Start Date07/12/2007
Company Names or State EnterprisesSamsung Heavy Industries
Samsung Group from Republic of Korea
Relevant government actorsMinistry of the Environment, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Maritime affairs and Fisheries
International and Financial InstitutionsInternational Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersFishermen's associations, Local EJOs
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, 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-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnknown
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Court decision (undecided)
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

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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
[click to view]

Social Impacts of the Taean Oil Spill: An International Perspective

C. P. Wolf , Social Impact Assessment Center

New York, NY
[click to view]

[1] Court provides compensation to victims of Korea’s biggest ever oil spill
[click to view]

Other CommentsInternational news coverage of the oil-spil: Al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN....

Articles in Korea Times: 9. 12. 2007. Los Angeles Times17. 07. 2011
Meta Information
ContributorLouis Lemkow
Last update02/06/2014