How has the oil spill on 4 Jan affected shores in the area? Thanks to Jeffrey Low, I was invited to join the NParks National Biodiversity Centre's survey of the area to check on the oil spill situation.
We started on a long loop around the Southern Islands. This is Pulau Salu, among our few undeveloped islands. It has a nice reef flat and there are several submerged reefs nearby too. Here's what Jeffrey and Chay Hoon shared from their dives at Salu.
Raffles Lighthouse where we had a closer look at the water quality. Raffles Lighthouse has among our best reefs. Here's what Jeff and Chay Hoon shared from their dives there. Jeff's photos also include some sightings at Pulau Biola nearby.
Pelir musang (Fagraea auriculata). This rare plant is found in only two other locations: Lazarus Island and Pulau Tekukor.
We then head off to the waters near Pulau Semakau and the Semakau Landfill. There is a fish farm located in the area, which is said to be the largest fish farm in Singapore. I wonder how they have been impacted not only by the oil spill, but also the dispersant introduced to deal with the spill. It must be a blow to the farm, coming so close to Lunar New Year when they must surely be expecting to sell a lot of fish locally.
Pulau Semakau draped with mangroves and ringed by reefs. The Semakau intertidal is regularly monitored by TeamSeagrass, so we should be able to track any impact through that effort. The wooded area on the horizon is Pulau Hantu. The volunteers of the Hantu Bloggers dive there regularly and they will be checking up on this shore on the next dive.
Sargassum seaweed (Sargassum sp.) which is in season now.
Sisters Islands, where some of our best reefs are found. The water seems clear.
St. John's Island.
Nyireh (Xylocarpus rumphii). I've not seen this tree from the sea. How magnificent the mother tree looks! Oil spills will not only affect marine life but also rare trees such as these. Jeff and the volunteers of the Blue Water Volunteers conduct regular surveys of our reefs, including those we visited today, so they will be able to continue to monitor any impacts.
massive reclamation for the new Pasir Panjang Container Terminal. Those walls and piles of sand are enormous!
Sentosa, the wooded area on the horizon behind the pile of sand.
reclamation going on at Jurong Island.
For this documentation trip, the rest brought alarmingly long lenses. Just my bad luck that my favourite Big Cam is in the hospital for three weeks having major injuries repaired. Fortunately, standby Big Cam works! Even though I haven't used her for years. Hurray!
volunteer mobilisation during an oil spill. This is based on our experience during the May 2010 oil spill, to be better prepared for the next one. Here's Siva briefing on the plan last year.
Easrlier posts following the May 2010 oil spill: