05 January 2017

Survey of oil spill spill impact on Ubin and mainland Singapore

I did a quick survey of northern shores and saw oil spill being cleaned up at Punggol, Pasir Ris and Changi. I also had a glimpse of Ubin mangroves by boat and saw that oil was affecting those on Pulau Ketam as well as Sungei Puaka.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (5 Jan 2017) from Pasir Ris Carpark A
The oil spill impacts those that depend on good water quality in the Johor Strait. This includes wildlife like this eagle that I was lucky enough to photograph catching a fish right in front of me. As well as the 60 fish farms located in the waters affected by the oil spill.


My survey started at Punggol Jetty along the northern coastline through Pasir Ris to Changi. It was shocking to me that the oil spill which started in Pasir Gudang, had its worst impact on Changi.

At Punggol Jetty, opposite Pasir Gudang Port in Johor Malaysia, the water seemed clear with hardly any sheen. A contributor earlier reported light staining on the shore and indeed, there were many small bags of probably oil-stained sand already removed from the beach.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Punggol Jetty

At Pasir Ris carpark E, the water was clear and I didn't see any signs of oil on the shore, or of oil-stained sand having been removed from the shore recently (i.e., scrape marks on the sand, bags of sand accumulated nearby).
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Pasir Ris Carpark E

At Pasir Ris carpark A, however, I did come across oil in the water. And signs that machinery was used to remove oil on the shore. There were many men still working on the shore to sweep up oil-stained sand and debris, as well as carry off the sand from the beach.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Pasir Ris Carpark A
Here's video clip of the oil on the shore and the people working hard to remove it.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Pasir Ris Carpark A

I stopped by Changi Sailing Club and was glad to see no signs of oil in the water or on the sand.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Changi Sailing Club

But when I got close to Changi Point Ferry Terminal (the place we take the bumboats to Ubin), the smell of oil was already strong before I even reached the water's edge. Oil had piled up along the shores and on the boom laid across Changi Creek.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Changi Creek, Changi Point Ferry Terminal
There were workers busy removing oil-stained sand from the beach. And putting absorbent paper on the oil.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Changi Creek
The oil landed on both sides of Changi Creek.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Changi Creek
The last patch of mangroves at Changi are at the headwaters of Changi Creek.
I hope the mangrove upstream are doing better than the mangroves growing along the Creek near the small bridge.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Changi Creek

At Changi Carpark 1, despite working all morning, the workers have barely managed to clean up the area.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Changi Carpark 2
The oil spill extends all the way to Carpark 4. Here's a view from Carpark 2.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Changi Point, Carpark 1
And a view from Carpark 3.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Changi Carpark 2
I salute these workers who have such a lot to do!
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Changi Carpark 1 to Carpark 3

At Changi Carpark 4, there is lots of oil in the water, landing in nasty porridge-like plops on the shore.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Changi Carpark 4
The oil in the water extended some way towards Carpark 5.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Changi Carpark 4

It was a relief that I didn't see any oil at Changi Carpark 6.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Changi Carpark 6

And I didn't see any oil at Changi Carpark 7 either.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Changi Carpark 7

I had a chance to quickly check up on oil impact on the mangroves at Pulau Ubin. Sadly, there were signs of oil floating up Sungei Puaka.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) at mangroves of Sungei Puaka, Pulau Ubin
Sungei Puaka leads to the heart of Ubin's mangroves. Mangrove trees breathe through pores in their roots and trunk, oil can seal these pores affecting the trees' health. Fortunately, I did not see any oil at Sungei Jelutong.

At Pulau Ketam, leaves and roots and trunks of large mangrove trees were coated in oil.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (4 Jan 2017) from Pulau Ketam off Pulau Ubin

I also saw these four Oil Spill Response vessels and what looks like a boom just off Pulau Ubin. They were stationary and didn't seem to be doing any oil spill remediation work.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (5 Jan 2017) from Pulau Ubin
A closer look at the boom.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (5 Jan 2017) from Pulau Ubin
There was also a large Pollution Control vessel off the mouth of Changi Creek.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (5 Jan 2017) from Changi Creek
I wonder why all these vessels did not manage to deal with the oil before it landed on Changi?

More photos of from the survey:


More about the Johor oil spill in this blog post.

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