by Xinhua writer Zhou Yan
DALIAN, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Flames that engulfed a port in Dalian, a coastal city in northeast China's Liaoning Province, were basically extinguished Saturday morning, 15 hours after blasts hit two oil pipelines.
The fire and explosion caused no casualties, a city government spokesman said at a briefing at 10 a.m. The fire site was far from residential areas.
As of Saturday morning, fire fighters had switched off valves on all oil tanks and put the flames under control, said Xu Guochen, secretary-general of the city government.
He said more than 2,000 men and 338 fire engines from 14 cities across the province worked through the night to extinguish the fire.
The accident aroused the attention of China's top leadership, prompting instructions from President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang rushed to the fire site Friday night to direct the rescue work.
China's Air Force sent two Y8 aircraft to the rescue operation, carrying 17.8 tonnes of fire extinguishing agent.
China steps up effort to contain oil spill off Dalian
By the CNN Wire Staff
July 19, 2010 1:14 p.m. EDT
China steps up effort to contain oil spill off Dalian - CNN.com
Beijing, China (CNN) -- More than 500 fishing boats joined the effort to clean up oil that gushed into a harbor in northeast China when two pipelines exploded Friday, a Chinese state-run news agency reported Monday.
The arrival of the boats in Xingang Harbor in Dalian, China, more than doubled the number that were already on site. They were equipped with oil absorbers and dispersants to help workers clean up an oil slick that had spread across at least 183 square kilometers (71 square miles) off the coastal city in Liaoning Province, the Xinhua news agency said.
The cleanup effort focused on an area south of Dalian's Golden Pebble Beach and east of Bangchui Island.
Strong winds on Sunday helped limit the oil's spread, said Luan Yuxuan, deputy director of Dalian City's Oceanic and Fishery Administration. He predicted Monday that cleanup operations would last at least four to five days.
In all, 24 oil cleanup vessels and 800 fishing boats were engaged in the effort and 460 tons of oil had been collected, he said Monday.
Officials did not know how much oil had been spilled, he said.
Ship traffic at Dalian, China's second-largest port for crude oil imports, was limited so as not to interfere with the cleanup efforts, said Wang Ning, a senior engineer with the maritime affairs bureau of Liaoning Province.
Xingang port was engulfed in flames Friday night when an oil pipeline exploded. That caused an adjacent pipeline to explode, too. More than 2,000 firefighters and 338 fire engines from 14 cities across Liaoning Province worked through the night to put out the fire, Xinhua said.
No one was hurt.
A team was established Sunday morning to investigate the incident.