Although nearly eight years have passed since a major oil spill in South Korea, compensation and recovery efforts appear to be far from satisfactory, and the affected communities continue to suffer the effects of the disaster.
UT Dallas' Dr. Dohyeong Kim, second-year doctoral student Soojin Min and two Korean scholars have found a considerable gap between the economic loss claimed by residents and the compensation they received after the Hebei Spirit oil spill. Only 11 percent of the claims were approved for compensation.
"I was surprised," said Kim, the lead author of the findings that were recently published in Ocean & Coastal Management. "Eleven percent is really low, compared to the other countries. It's a shame. My initial impression when I saw that finding was, 'Citizens have a lot less organized power in Korea.' It is striking to me."
The oil spill, about one-third of the size of the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989, took place in 2007 when a barge hit the tanker Hebei Spirit, creating a hole in the cargo area. The leaking crude oil reached more than 200 miles away in less than a month, covering the rocky shore, sandy beaches and coastal wetlands.
Kim, associate professor of public policy and political economy in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, was intrigued by the disaster's social and ecological impacts as well as the compensation implications for those affected particularly owners of small-scale fisheries and tourism businesses.
Kim said understanding the reasons behind the compensation gap is crucial for future oil spills.
Based on the findings, the researchers determined three possible reasons for the low percentage of compensation:
|Contact: Brittany Hoover|
University of Texas at Dallas