Oil spill 'contained' off S'pore as cleanup continues
Posted: 26 May 2010 1201 hrs
SINGAPORE : An oil spill from a tanker damaged in a collision off eastern Singapore has largely been contained by emergency response teams, the vessel's operator said Wednesday.
The Malaysian-registered tanker MT Bunga Kelana 3 was carrying nearly 62,000 tonnes of crude when it collided before dawn Tuesday with the MV Waily, a bulk carrier registered in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Efforts to contain and clean up the oil slick following the collision continued through the night and Wednesday morning.
"Efforts resumed early Wednesday morning, with the addition of more than 100 personnel deployed along the shoreline in case the spill reaches the coast," the Malaysia-based company said.
The leaked crude was "more or less contained" and "won't spread" out of the cleanup zone, a spokeswoman for petroleum shipper AET told AFP as the company issued an update 24 hours after the spill was first reported.
About 2,500 tonnes of crude leaked from a gash on the double-hulled tanker's port side, according to Singapore port officials. Double-hulled tankers are designed to limit spillage in case of a rupture.
At around 2am on Wednesday, small patches of oil and sheen were sighted at Changi Naval Base. 6 response craft equipped with dispersants were on site to manage the oil and sheen.
Non-toxic and bio-degradable oil spill dispersants were used to break up the oil slick into smaller globules and containment booms were used to contain and prevent the oil slick from hitting the coastlines.
As at 11.30am Wednesday, 15 craft and more than 120 personnel were deployed as part of the containment and clean up efforts. 3,300 metres of containment booms are being used to contain the oil slick.
In a statement Wednesday, AET said "the incident caused significant damage to the vessel's hull and resulted in a spill of Bintulu light crude oil that is now being cleaned up by specialists using a small armada of boats."
Singapore ecologists said they were awaiting progress reports on the cleanup after the government alerted waterfront establishments and communities in districts near Changi Airport to be on standby for a possible oil-spill impact.
"If they manage to contain it, then it won't affect wildlife that much," said Louis Ng, executive director of activist group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society.
An AFP reporter who visited the Changi coast on Wednesday saw no signs of emergency crews, and there were no indications that any of the oil had washed ashore.
The strong smell of crude that had lingered in residential areas near the coast overnight was gone as joggers and cyclists enjoyed the fresh morning breeze.
Singapore food-industry officials said 51 offshore aquaculture farms near the spill were loaned canvas skirting to cover their underwater nets and prevent any leaked oil from contaminating their fish.
The collision took place in a busy shipping route along the Singapore and Malacca straits also bordered by Indonesia and Malaysia, but ship traffic was not affected by the incident and cleanup, port officials said. The waters in our anchorages and the Traffic Separation Scheme south of Changi were reported to be clean.
Weather, tidal and wind conditions play an important role in the containment of the oil slick. Efforts to contain and clean up the oil slick are continuing. Traffic in the Traffic Separation Scheme of the Singapore Straits remains unaffected.
Singapore is one of the world's busiest ports, with data from the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) showing the island-nation handled 472 million tonnes of cargo last year, with bulk oil cargo constituting 37.5 per cent of the total. Hours after the collision, an oil slick about four kilometres (2.5 miles) long and one kilometre wide was spotted near the east coast of Singapore.
There were no immediate estimates of the remaining volume on Wednesday. AET said the remaining oil within the damaged section of the tanker was being pumped into another tank in the vessel prior to an underwater inspection of the hull.
Members of the public can contact MPA's 24-hours Marine Safety Control Centre at 6325 2489 to report any sighting of oil slick in our waters or coastlines. - AFP/CNA/jy
Parts of East Coast beach closed due to oil spill
By Hetty Musfirah, Jessica Yeo | Posted: 26 May 2010 1729 hrs
SINGAPORE : Parts of Singapore's East Coast beach have been closed to the public after traces of oil slick from Tuesday's ship collision were found near the shore.
According to the National Environment Agency (NEA), the affected area stretched some five kilometres - from the National Sailing Centre to waters near Gold Kist Beach Resort.
The first traces of oil in the area were detected at 3.45pm on Wednesday.
Patches of oil were also found at the coastline between Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and Changi Naval Base.
NEA has deployed officers to clean up both sites and is advising the public to stay away from East Coast beach for the time being.
Tai Ji Choong, head of Operations, Environmental Health Department, National Environment Agency, said: "We are monitoring the situation, but we will be engaged here as long as it takes.
"I think we would like to advise the public to avoid the stretch of the beach that has been affected by the oil spill - not to swim there or carry out water activities there.
"Our NEA officers are working now at the beach areas to clean up the contaminated sand. Those sand that have been contaminated by the oil sludge, we actually clear up the sand, then dispose of the sand. At the same time, our guys are also making sure that people don't swim at the beach."
The situation, however, has dampened the spirits of some beach-goers.
"We came for the enjoyment but because of this, we cannot stay here for long," one of them said.
"There (are) ... strong nauseous fumes coming from the water. It's kind of like black water. Doesn't look like you want to go and swim in it," another said.
Containment and clean-up efforts also took place at a rock bund near the SAF Yacht Club. The first traces of oil slick there were detected as early as 9am on Wednesday.
Non-toxic and bio-degradable agents were used to break up the oil. NEA said the area is not accessible to the public, and the clean-up efforts there are to ensure oil traces do not stain the rock bund.
Meanwhile, the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) is working to contain the oil spill at the site of the collision between the Malaysian-registered tanker MT Bunga Kelana 3 and the St Vincent and The Grenadines-registered bulk carrier MV Waily.
About 15 vessels and over 120 people were deployed to clean up the spill.
MPA said the weather, tide and wind conditions play an important role in the containment of the oil slick. Traffic in the Singapore Strait remains unaffected.
Members of the public can contact MPA's 24-hour Marine Safety Control Centre at 6325-2489 to report any sighting of oil slick in the waters or coastlines.
Meanwhile, restaurants in the East Coast area said the stench caused by the oil spill is affecting their business.
They said people are avoiding the area after the oil slick moved to parts of the East Coast shore.
Fish farms in the area are using plastic sheets given by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority as barricades to prevent any contamination from the oil slick.
Fish farmers MediaCorp spoke to said they fear the tide may shift the sheets, and thereby affect the fishes.
Good afternoon butties......long weekend coming.....yeah.....
looking forward for the paintball outing....hehehe
CEO - chiu can just park at the double zig zag yellow line. Valet parking attendant in white will come shortly to take care of your rose-roys!
What's happening after frog legs and liulian?