The oil started spilling into the mouth of Gwangyang Port around 9:30 a.m. on Friday, January 31, 2014. A Singapore-registered vessel, piloted by a port captain and exceeding speed limits, ran into pipelines at a GS Caltex petrochemical facility, damaging the pipelines and dumping 164 tons of oil into the coastal waters off Yeosu.
One of the first areas affected was Shindeok-dong, a small fishing village about 2km south of the spill. Shindeok is a small collection of concrete homes nestled together on the eastern shore of Yeosu. Small piers and fishing boats dot its shoreline. The cleanup effort, which involved the Coast Guard, Army, national police, the Red Cross, GS Caltex, and the Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KOEM), as well as hundreds of volunteers, began there, and would spread along with the oil in the coming days.