07 January 2017

Key happenings: Oil spill at East Johor Strait, Jan 2017

Here's a compilation of the key happenings of the recent oil spill.
Screen cap of video by The Star on damage to APL Denver.
What, where, how much oil spilled, what caused the spill and what impacts and responses by various parties. This post will be updated as new information arises.

What: Collision between WAN HAI 301 (Singapore-registered container vessel) and APL DENVER (Gibraltar-registered container vessel).

Where: off Pasir Gudang Port, Johor Malaysia

3 Jan (Tue), Johor Port Authority (JPA) notified Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) at around 2350hrs (MPA media release 4 Jan 17)

What and how much spilled:
  • Approximately 300 tonnes from APL DENVER due to damaged hull. (MPA media release 4 Jan 17)
  • The APL Denver bunker tank has a capacity of 300 tonnes, “but we are not sure how much has spilled out. A lot has floated to the waters near Pulau Ubin, off Singapore.” -- Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (southern region) First Admiral Adon Shalan (The Star 5 Jan 17)
  • The spilled oil was identified as Marine Fuel Oil (MFO) 500 CST, which is used in the shipping industry. (New Straits Times 5 Jan 17)
  • As at 5 Jan (Thu), both APL DENVER and WAN HAI 301 are currently berthed at Pasir Gudang Port and are in stable condition. (MPA Media Release 5 Jan 17 1952hrs)

Cause of spill:
  • "The collision occurred when the vessel Wan Hai suffered a power failure, causing it to become uncontrollable, and it hit APL Denver's starboard tank No 6, causing the oil spill," s - Johor State Health and Environment Executive Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said, according the Department of Environment's (DOE) observation, (New Straits Times 4 Jan 17)
  • Wan Hai 301, was entering the port at about 11pm when it rammed the bunker tank of an anchored Gibraltar-registered APL Denver vessel. Wan Hai 301 is believed to have suffered a technical failure before the collision. (New Straits Times 5 Jan 17)
  • Wan Hai 301 experienced generator failure, causing it to lose control and crash into APL Denver, that was docked at Johor Port in Pasir Gudang. The incident happened at at around 11.05pm -- Johor Port Authority (JPA) statement (The Star 5 Jan 17)

What the public is advised to do

  • Members of the public who spot any oil patches in our waters or coastline can contact MPA’s 24-hour Marine Safety Control Centre at 6325-2488/9. (MPA media release 4 Jan 17)

TIMELINE of events

4 Jan (Wed)

Johor response
  • JPA has deployed four anti-pollution craft on site and an oil boom around APL DENVER to contain the oil spill. MPA media release 4 Jan 17

AVA and fish farms
Two farms saw fish deaths due to the oil spill and that up to 200kg of fish had died. (Channel NewsAsia 5 Jan 17)

AVA actions - AVA spokesman (Straits Times 5 Jan 17)
  • Advised farmers to stop feeding their fish and to use canvas skirting to prevent oil from contaminating fish stocks. 
  • “Issued oil-absorbent pads and canvases to 11 farmers closest to the oil spill site to help protect their fish stock." 
  • As a precautionary measure, fish samples have been collected from the farms for food safety tests. 

5 Jan (Thu)

Oil landings (MPA media release 5 Jan 17 1700hrs)
  • Western coastlines of Pulau Ubin (OBS Jetty) and Nenas Channel. 
  • CAFHI Jetty
  • Pasir Ris Beach
  • Changi Point Ferry Terminal
  • Changi Sailing Club
  • Changi Beach
  • Cleaning operations are currently ongoing at a 100m stretch at Noordin beach at Pulau Ubin, while cleaning operations at Pasir Ris beach and Punggol beach have been completed as of Thursday afternoon. (Today Online 5 Jan 17)
  • Oil landed on Pulau Ketam, oil starting to enter Sungei Puaka at Pulau Ubin (Ria Tan survey, 5 Jan 17)

Oil sightings
  • MPA aerial surveillance spotted two patches of oil concentrated along the western coastlines of Pulau Ubin (OBS Jetty) and Nenas Channel. (MPA Media Release 5 Jan 17 1952hrs)
  • Most of the oil spill that occurred following the collision, have drifted into Singapore waters with Pulau Ubin in Singapore being impacted the most from the spill - Johor State Health and Environment Executive Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat (New Straits Times 4 Jan 17)

MPA response
  • MPA reports 17 vessels and 222 personnel have been deployed. Contractors were deployed to clean up the affected shorelines. Oil spill response vessels as well as containment booms and spill recovery equipment such as harbour busters and skimmers have also been deployed at the affected areas. (MPA media release 5 Jan 17 1700hrs)
  • MPA and its contractors have deployed a total of nine vessels to respond to the oil patches at OBS Jetty and Nenas Channel. Two Skimmers and booms have been placed off OBS Jetty and Nenas Channel to contain the oil patches. (MPA Media Release 5 Jan 17 1952hrs)
  • MPA has been working closely with NParks and AVA to manage the incident. (MPA Media Release 5 Jan 17 1952hrs)
  • MPA as a flag State will investigate the cause of the collision between Singapore-registered container vessel WAN HAI 301 and a Gibraltar-registered container vessel APL DENVER off Pasir Gudang Port, Johor Malaysia. (MPA Media Release 5 Jan 17 1952hrs)

NEA response
  • An 800m stretch of Changi Beach has been closed until further notice to help facilitate the clean-up of the affected area. The public advised to avoid the area -- the National Environment Agency (NEA) (Today Online 5 Jan 17)

NParks response (Straits Times 5 Jan 17)
  • The National Parks Board said yesterday that the spillage had been contained off the northern and western parts of Pulau Ubin. 
  • As the tide was expected to move eastwards yesterday night, oil-absorbent booms were set up to protect the mangroves and mudflats along the north-eastern coast of Pulau Ubin, including the Chek Jawa Wetlands. 
  • Booms to contain the oil spill have also been set up to protect the mangroves at Coney Island Park and Pasir Ris Park. 

AVA response

  • More farms were found to have tainted nets and structures, compared to the day before due to tidal movement. Aside from the two farms however, "most of the farms in the same area did not report fish mortality,” (Channel NewsAsia 5 Jan 17)
  • AVA has issued oil absorbent pads and canvas to 22 farmers closest to the oil spill site to help protect their fish stock. 
  • "There is minimal impact to supply. Nevertheless, AVA will continue to monitor the situation and assist the fish farmers, including assisting in clean-up efforts. (Channel NewsAsia 5 Jan 17).

Johor response
  • Cleaning up operation using vacuum suction of the oil spill has begun. "This operation is carried out carefully... if it's done in a hurry, it may break up the oil patches and (for that,) we cannot clean it up thoroughly. We also cannot tell how much longer the operation will take," - Johor Environment Department spokesperson. (New Straits Times 5 Jan 17) 
  • 137 fishermen at six villages near the Pasir Gudang Port might suffer losses amounting to RM130,000 due to an oil spill - Southern Johor Fishermen Association chairman Azli Mohd Aziz said the 137 fishermen (New Straits Times 5 Jan 17)
  • It will take a week to clean up the oil that spilled. How quickly the clean-up could be done was dependent on the weather and the water currents. The oil spill did not affect the people in the area, including fishermen -- Johor Port Authority (LPJ) (The Star 5 Jan 17)
  • Quick action by Johor Port Bhd, with the cooperation of agencies in the Pasir Gudang Oil Spill Task Force as well as LPJ, Department of Environment, South Region Marine Department and the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, managed to prevent the spill from spreading over a wide area. Singapore authorities also took swift action to check the spill in the republic's waters. -- Johor Port Authority (LPJ) (The Star 5 Jan 17)

6 Jan (Fri)

Cleanup works
  • Cleanup operations are still taking place at various places such as the Changi Point Ferry Terminal, fish farms at Nenas Channel and Noordin beach situated on the northern coastline of Pulau Ubin. (MPA media release 6 Jun 17)

NEA response
  • The NEA has advised the public to exercise caution when visiting the affected beaches and to avoid the stretches where cleaning work is being carried out.(Today Online 6 Jan 17)

NParks response
  • “The booms have kept the oil out of the biodiversity sensitive sites”. We will continue to monitor the impact of the oil spill on marine life and share more details when this is ready." (Today Online 6 Jan 17)
  • The tides on Friday carried some oil to beaches in Pulau Ubin including Chek Jawa Wetlands. Over the weekend, it will be working with conservation volunteers to clean up Pulau Ubin's beaches. "These NParks volunteers will help clear contaminated sand and remove oil sludge in the affected areas. We will review requests from the public to support the clean-up operation on a case-by-case basis," It is monitoring the impact of the oil spill on marine life. -- NParks spokesman (Channel NewsAsia 6 Jan 17)

AVA response
  • At least three fish farms in the East Johor Straits were affected, with one farmer telling Channel NewsAsia on Thursday that he had already lost about 1,000 fish and that the damage could run up to S$700,000. (Channel NewsAsia 6 Jan 17)
  • As of Friday (Jan 6), AVA has issued orders for 12 farms to suspend fish sales until food safety evaluations are complete. (Today Online 7 Jan 17)

Johor response
Update by Johor Port Authority (JPA) gene­ral manager Muhammad Razif Ahmad (The Star 6 Jan 17)
  • It will cost about RM5mil to clean up the oil slicks in Pasir Gudang waters and owners of the two container ships involved in the spill will have to foot the bill. 
  • 100 personnel from 10 agencies were involved in the operation. 
  • Oillspread along the shoreline of Kampung Pasir Putih, Kampung Teluk Kabung and Kampung Perigi Aceh.
The owners of the two vessels which collided at Pasir Gudang Port on Tuesday night have been ordered to post a security bond of RM1mil each to the state government. The bond was to guarantee that the owners would take responsibility for the clean-up operation following the oil spill in the area. -- State Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat (The Star 5 Jan 17)

Fish and mussel breeding areas in Kampung Pasir Putih, Kampung Asli Teluk Kabung and Kampung Asli Kuala Masai have been identified as areas affected by the oil spill. (The Star 5 Jan 17)

7 Jan (Sat)

NParks response

  • Damage to Chek Jawa's ecosystem in Pulau Ubin following last week's oil spill has, so far, been minimal, said the National Parks Board (NParks).(Straits Times 7 Jan 17)

Compiled from these media articles


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