Crude oil is a major pollutant of marine and coastal ecosystems, and it causes environmental problems more seriously. It is believed ultimate and complete degradation is accomplished mainly by microorganisms. In this study, we aim to search out for bacterial strains with high ability in degrading crude oil. From sediments contaminated by the petroleum spilled in 2007, an accident in Taean, South Korea, we isolated thirty-one bacterial strains in total with potential application in crude oil contamination remediation. In terms of removal percentage after 7 days, one of the strains, Co17, showed the highest removal efficiency with 84.2% of crude oil in Bushnell-Haas media. The Co17 strain even exhibited outstanding ability removing crude oil at a high salt concentration. Through the whole genome sequencing annotation results, many genes related with n-alkane degradation in the genome of Gordonia sp. Co17, revealed alkane-1-monooxygenase, alcohol dehydrogenase, and Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenase. Specially, for confirmation of gene-level, alkB gene encoding alkane hydroxylase (alkane-1-monooxygenase) was found in the strain Co17. The expression of alkB upregulated 125-fold after 18 hr accompany with the removal of n-alkanes of 48.9%. We therefore propose the strain Gordonia iterans Co17, isolated from crude oil-contaminated marine sediment, could be used to offer a new strategy for bioremediation with high efficiency. © 2018 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.