28 July 2016

Oil spill off Live Firing Islands, 26 Jul 2016

About one ton of heavy fuel oil was spilled, affecting an area of about 20 nautical miles (37km). It happened just off southern Singapore in Malaysian waters. A report said "the vessel was boomed following the incident. The oil leak was stemmed quickly."
Click on image for larger view.
The pin is the last known location the Berge Bureya.
It is reportedly now anchored off Tanjung Piai, Malaysia.
The spill came from a very large ore carrier that was originally an oil tanker and had in 1994, spilled 16,000 tonnes of crude oil in the Gulf of Oman.

From The Maritime Executive (also on wildsingapore news).

On 26 Jul (Tue) morning, the very large ore carrier Berge Bureya spilled approximately one ton of heavy fuel oil into the Straits of Malacca off of Tanjung Piai, Malaysia, just west of Singapore.
Last known location of Berge Bureya from Vessel Finder:
1.20629 N / 103.56633 E on Jul 26, 2016 at 02:10 UTC
The vessel's owner, Berge Bulk, confirmed the spill in a statement, and said that there were no injuries, no grounding and no involvement of third parties.

The firm said that "whilst in transit between Singapore and Brazil, a quantity of oil was identified leaking from the vessel and the crew immediately enacted emergency procedures to halt the leakage and to start a prompt clean-up operation. Berge Bulk Maritime is cooperating closely with the Malaysian authorities in the management of the spill and the vessel was boomed following the incident. The oil leak was stemmed quickly."

Officials with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency told local media that the spill had affected an area of approximately 20 nm, and that the vessel had been detained in accordance with the nation's environmental regulations.

As of Wednesday, the Bureya was at anchor off of Tanjung Piai.
According to Vessel Finder: Berge Bureya is 328m long overall
with a beam of 58m. Her gross tonnage is 155823 tons.
The 300,000 dwt Bureya started life in 1993 as the oil tanker Seki. Berge bought her and converted her to a six-hold ore carrier in 2007. She carries up to 5,500 tons of fuel oil.

In 1994, as the tanker Seki, she was involved in a collision off of Fujairah in which her number one port wing tank was ruptured, spilling 16,000 tonnes of Iranian light crude.

Why is now a very bad time for an oil spill?

Anytime is a bad time for an oil spill. But now is particularly bad because our shores are already suffering from heat stress from the recent unusually warm temperatures. In fact, since June 2016, the regular shore survey team have documented mass coral bleaching on many of our shores.

What natural shores are found near the spill site?

The Live Firing Islands have among our most untouched reefs and marine ecosystems as they are off limits. These include the islands of Pulau Salu, Pulau Sudong, Pulau Pawai and Pulau Senang. Raffles Lighthouse located on Pulau Satumu, and the tiny island of Pulau Biola nearby, has some of our best reefs and rare coastal plants.
Pristine Reefs of Raffles Lighthouse
The living reefs of Raffles Lighthouse
with Pulau Biola on the horizon.

What other impacts on Singapore?

Thanks to Ray Huang for pointing out the possible impact on Singapore's desalination plants located at Tuas.

Oil spills on our Southern Islands

Our Southern Islands including the islands of our Marine Park lie close to the Singapore Strait, a major shipping lane connecting the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
Large vessel in the Singapore Strait from Sisters Islands
with St John's Island on the horizon.
Large vessels from the Middle East, India to China, Japan and Korea ply this route.
Huge container ship seen off Sisters Island.
Large vessels travelling off the Marine Park.
Photo by Chia Wei Wei during a public walk
at the Sisters Islands Marine Park in Dec 2015. 

Recent ship collisions and oil spills


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