28 May 2010

What is being done about the oil spill? (28 May)

The oil slick has hit Chek Jawa today at about 2pm, and Changi Beach between car parks 6 and 7. Some 700 metres are affected.

Oil has also hit Johor shores. A 1,600-metre long and 960-metre wide slick, was also 960 metres off Tanjung Ayam in Pengerang, Johor yesterday. By today, some of the oil that had turned into tar balls has also reached the shores of Tanjung Ayam and has spread further to Teluk Ramunia.

Yesterday, the authorities said it is unlikely that other coastal areas like Changi and Sentosa will be affected.
Workers scooping up oil-soaked sand into garbage bags at East Coast Park yesterday. Some residents had complained of a smell coming from the oil spill. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

More highlights from media reports today:

Yesterday, more than 40 cleaning staff from NEA and 125 workers from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) continued to clean up the spill. Dispersants were used to break up the oil into smaller globules, and contaminated sand was removed from the beach.

Some 8.6 tonnes of sand was removed from East Coast beach and taken to the Semakau landfill.

"We managed to clean up quite a fair bit of what came in yesterday, but a new oil patch came in around 2 this afternoon, so the situation now is similar to what it was yesterday. But efforts to clean up are continuing and we are sparing no efforts."

Today, MPA said efforts in the waters off Changi East and East Coast Park are ongoing, with 21 craft equipped with 6 skimmers and 1,915 metres of containment booms deployed. The seaward efforts involved 171 personnel.

No significant patches of oil have been observed in the Traffic Separation Scheme off Changi East and within the anchorages of Singapore's port waters. There are isolated patches of oil close to East Coast Park and Changi East and we are working to contain and clean up these patches.

NEA said the situation is still fluid as new oil patches may come in, depending on currents and wind situation. NEA says weather conditions over the weekend could result in 'rough seas' carrying more oil patches towards the coastline. So, officers have been deployed at East Coast Beach, Changi Beach and Pulau Ubin to carry out surveillance.

Nine canals and outlet drains close to the affected stretch at East Coast were also oil-slicked. To prevent more oil from entering the canals and drains, PUB booms were placed yesterday across all nine affected conduits.

The PUB said the oil would not pollute Singapore's water supply, as the canals and outlet drains are not connected to catchment areas, and Singapore does not get drinking water from these conduits.

Containment booms have held in the oil leaking from the tanker, which was loaded with 62,000 tonnes of crude oil, but not the oil that had spread into the slick.

The agency could not estimate how much oil had been cleaned up, but said it was 'monitoring our waters closely'.

The NEA promised to 'carry out a thorough study later on' of the impact of the spill on wildlife.

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