Oil spill in Dalian, China- Story in Pictures

The oil covered hand of a firefighter who was overwhelmed by the thick oil spill while attempting to fix an underwater pump is seen after he he was brought to shore by his colleagues in Dalian, China on Tuesday, July 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Jiang He, Greenpeace) - [Editor's note: To clarify, the events depicted in this and the previous five photographs show firefighters Zhang Liang (top left of photo 24), Han Xiaoxiong (above) and Zheng Zhanhong (not pictured). Zhang Liang went under the water and oil, did not resurface, and drowned. The man being pulled ashore in the photo is Han Xiaoxiong.

The oil covered hand of a firefighter who was overwhelmed by the thick oil spill while attempting to fix an underwater pump is seen after he he was brought to shore by his colleagues in Dalian, China on Tuesday, July 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Jiang He, Greenpeace)

Originally published on Boston.com

In July 2010, in the northeastern port city of Dalian, China, two oil pipelines exploded, sending flames hundreds of feet into the air and burning for over 15 hours, destroying several structures – the cause of the explosion is under investigation. The damaged pipes released thousands of gallons of oil, which flowed into the nearby harbor and the Yellow Sea.

The total amount of oil spilled is still not clear, though China Central Television earlier reported an estimate of 1,500 tons (400,000 gallons), as compared to the estimated 94 – 184 million gallons in the BP oil spill off the Louisiana coast. The oil slick has now grown to at least 430 square kilometers (165 sq mi), forcing beaches and port facilities to close while government workers and local fishermen work to contain and clean up the spill.

Oil coats a boat rope on July 18, 2010 after a huge spill following the fire at the port in Dalian, China. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Oil coats a boat rope on July 18, 2010 after a huge spill following the fire at the port in Dalian, China. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Residual flames and smoke pour from the installation after Chinese firefighters battled a blaze which burned for 15 hours at a port in Dalian, China on July 17, 2010. More than 2,000 firefighters were mobilized to tackle the spectacular blaze, state media reported. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Residual flames and smoke pour from the installation after Chinese firefighters battled a blaze which burned for 15 hours at a port in Dalian, China on July 17, 2010. More than 2,000 firefighters were mobilized to tackle the spectacular blaze, state media reported. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

An aerial photo, released by China's Xinhua news agency on July 17, 2010, shows an oil slick floating off the coast of Dalian, China. Efforts were under way to contain and clean up a large oil slick after pipeline explosions at the northeastern Chinese port sent greasy black plumes into the ocean, state media reported. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Tian Jingyue)

An aerial photo, released by China's Xinhua news agency on July 17, 2010, shows an oil slick floating off the coast of Dalian, China. Efforts were under way to contain and clean up a large oil slick after pipeline explosions at the northeastern Chinese port sent greasy black plumes into the ocean, state media reported. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Tian Jingyue)

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