"We are working with the refinery operators to clean the spill," an official from the environment department of Quang Ngai province told Reuters by telephone.

He said strong waves broke a cargo hose while it had been feeding diesel from a tanker to the 140,000-bpd refinery.

An official at state oil firm Petrovietnam, the owner of the refinery, said the spill would not have any impact on the start date.

Strong winds and heavy rains have been striking several central provinces in the past two weeks, raising waters in rivers to their peak this week and causing inundations to low-lying areas.

The Vietnam Communist Party-run Nhan Dan (People) newspaper quoted Dung Quat operators as saying they were striving to fix the hose to resume taking 52,500 tonnes of diesel from Singaporean tanker Eagle Milwaukee before November 30.

The diesel will be used for Dung Quat's test-run operation before using real crude oil.

By Nguyen Nhat Lam - reuters - November 26, 2008