08 July 2011

Monitoring for oil spills to start soon

A system to monitor Singapore's coastal waters "continuously for abnormal chemical changes" and to forecast the extent of oil and chemical spills is being developed.
Oil spill slick at NSRCC, Tanah Merah
Massive oil spill on East Coast beach, May 2010.
According to a Straits Times article, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has started the two-year Project Neptune with Dutch water institute Deltares to develop this system which is expected to predict how far an oil spill will spread within 6, 12 and 24 hours.

"With computer modelling, researchers can predict the rate in which an oil spill can affect the aquaculture" reported Today Online. It also reported that Project Neptune is expected to be completed in April 2013.

According to the Straits Times "The project will use eight large buoys equipped with sensors to collect data from coastal waters around Singapore. The first sensor will be deployed by the year end. When contacted, NEA confirmed that the project is ongoing but was unable to provide additional details."

Indeed, in a recent search, I was unable to find any information on Project Neptune on the web.

The Straits Times article adds "Singapore straddles busy shipping routes and accidents have been known to happen. About a third of the world's trade and half the world's oil trade pass through the Malacca Strait and the Singapore Strait. In May last year, a collision between an oil tanker and a bulk carrier in the Singapore Strait spilled about 2,500 tonnes of crude oil into the sea."

It's been more than a year since this massive oil spill, and the cause of and investigations into the accident has yet to be made public.

More about the oil spill on this blog and on the Oil spill facebook page.

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