24 September 2015

Shell told to stop work following Aug 2015 fire at Pulau Bukom

Singapore has issued a stop work order on Shell's refinery on Pulau Bukom island after the fire there on 21 Aug which hurt 6 people.
Shell refinery on Pulau Bukom,
just off the mangroves and seagrass meadows on Pulau Semakau.
A stop work order is usually issued in cases where severe lapses in safety and health conditions cause immediate danger to the people at work.

From a Reuters article dated 23 Sep 15;

"A stop work order concerning the affected unit was issued by the Ministry of Manpower on Aug. 25," a Shell spokeswoman said.

A fire broke out on Aug. 21 at a section of an unidentified unit undergoing maintenance at the Pulau Bukom Manufacturing site, Shell's largest wholly owned plant. Six contractor workers suffered burns and were hospitalised.

The refiner stopped all work in units undergoing scheduled maintenance and eventually stopped all non-essential activities across the site, the spokeswoman said.

"All other units at the Pulau Bukom Manufacturing Site continue to operate normally and there is no expected disruption to our planned production rates," she said.

Two of six contract workers remained in the intensive care unit as of late August, while the other four had been discharged, the spokeswoman added, declining to give the latest update on the condition of the workers.

Investigations into the cause of the fire were ongoing.

Shell declined to give further details on how long the unit will be shut for or how much supply will be affected.

Related posts on Aug 2015 fire

What goes on at the Shell refinery on Pulau Bukom?
I did this post some time ago on what I could find out about Shell operations on Bukom.

Were there previous fire incidents at the Shell refinery on Pulau Bukom?

On 28 September 2011, a fire broke out at a pump house at the refinery which spread rapidly with multiple explosions. The fire was put out after 32 hours of fire-fighting.
Photo by Straits Times, Lau Fook Kong.
Later, Shell Eastern Petroleum was fined $80,000 for safety lapses that caused the fire.

About the Sep 2011 fire at Pulau Bukom
Posts in this blog about the Sep 2011 fire

From an older blog post Another fire at Shell's Bukom refinery?, On 26 Mar 2012 "flames and smoke were seen coming out of a processing plant on Pulau Bukom" according to media articles. Reports said "the power trip had caused the plant's 'flare system' to go off" and when asked, Shell "declined to elaborate on the incident". Shell said "in an emailed statement that the incident was 'quickly resolved with internal resources'".

Are there other industrial activities at the Shell refinery on Pulau Bukom that can have an environmental impact?
From an older blog post NEA comments on flaring at Bukom: The emission of dark smoke from a chimney is against the law outside agreed limitations, says the National Environment Agency (NEA) -- according to today's Straits Times article about flaring on Pulau Bukom.
Flaring on Pulau Bukom, near living reefs at Pulau Hantu
and other areas of rich marine biodiversity including Cyrene Reef.
Other insights from the article: Shell says it is within the limitations but an NEA spokesman said: 'We are working with Shell to understand and stem this unusual spate of smoke emissions from the flare stacks.'

What natural shores are found near Pulau Bukom?
Some of our best natural shores ring Pulau Bukom.
Pulau Hantu is the closest, with beautiful reefs that was just visited by the volunteer divers of the Hantu Bloggers this weekend.
Pulau Bukom lies just off the rich reefs of Pulau Hantu
The amazing reefs of Pulau Hantu lie just across from Bukom.
Also nearby is Cyrene Reef, a large submerged reef with some of the best seagrass meadows in Singapore. Also natural sandy shores, and reefs.
Pulau Bukom off Cyrene Reefs
Also Pulau Semakau which has vast seagrass meadows and reefs.
Pulau Bukom off Pulau Semakau's seagrass meadows
The lovely submerged reef of Terumbu Semakau I feel has the next best seagrass meadows of our terumbus, after Cyrene Reef.
Living seagrass meadows of Terumbu Semakau
Although tiny, Pulau Jong is among our last unspoilt islands and is very close to Pulau Bukom.
Emissions from Pulau Bukom near Pulau Jong
Further away on the mainland is Labrador and next to it, the natural shores of Sentosa.
Pulau Bukom from Labrador
Emissions from Bukom can cover a vast area.
Global waming in action
Plume of emissions from Bukom seen from Semakau.

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