At about 7:30 local time on December 7, 2007 (2230 UTC on 6 December 2007), a crane barge owned by Samsung Heavy Industries being towed by a tug collided with the anchored Hong Kong registered crude carrier Hebei Spirit (Chinese: 河北精神號), carrying 260,000 tonnes (290,000 short tons) of crude oil. The incident occurred near the Port of Daesan on the Yellow Sea coast of Taean County. The barge was floating free after the cable linking it to the tug snapped in the rough seas.
Although no casualties were reported, the collision punctured three of the five tanks aboard the Hebei Spirit and resulted in the leaking of some 10,800 tonnes (11,900 short tons) of oil. The remaining oil from the damaged tanks was pumped into the undamaged tanks and the holes were sealed.
The spill occurred near Mallipo Beach (in Taean County), considered one of South Korea's most beautiful and popular beaches. The region affected by the spill is home to one of Asia's largest wetland areas, used by migratory birds, and also contains a national maritime park and 445 sea farms.
Muling napatampok ang pagkakaisa ng mga Koreano at pagkalinga sa kalikasan ng muling malinis ang baybayin ng Taean na naapektuhan ng oil spill. Subalit may ilan din mangingisda ang nagkitil ng kanilang buhay ng mapinsala ang kanilang hanap-buhay at hindi nabigyan ng kaukulang kumpensasyon ng pamahalaan.
Mga volunteer ng The May 18 Memorial Foundation bitbit ang sako na may basahan para punasan ang mga bato sa pampang ng Taean. (26-27 December 2007)
Mga batong madumi ang kulay gawa ng oil spill.
Bato na may lagkit at dumi ng alkitran.