News on the oil spill

Earlier this afternoon, Channel NewsAsia reported that the oil spill had reached Chek Jawa, Changi Beach Car Parks 1-4, and even Johor. Kudos to ACRES and volunteers for taking real action to contribute in the clean-up!

In the evening, the update was that most of the spill had been cleaned up and it should be over by tomorrow.

That was quick?       

Oil slick spreads to S’pore northeastern coastline

Posted: 29 May 2010 1204 hrs

 
 
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Patches of crude oil slick stain the sand along the Singapore’s East Coast beach in after it spilled from a damaged tanker

   
 

SINGAPORE : An oil slick from a damaged tanker has spread from beaches on Singapore’s southeastern coastline to a marine nature reserve and other beaches, environment officials said Saturday.

Oil was found on the northeastern shore of Changi Beach and at Chek Jawa, a marine reserve on the southeast corner of Pulau Ubin, an island off the beach, a spokeswoman for the National Environment Agency (NEA) told AFP Saturday.

“The affected portion at Changi Beach is 700 metres (2,296 feet) long. Clean-up operations have begun. At Chek Jawa, some oil patches were sighted along a 150-metre stretch,” a press release by NEA dated May 28 stated.

Previously, the oil slick affected only the southeastern coastline of Singapore, with authorities closing down 7.2 kilometres (4.5 miles) of beach and rock bunds, or embankments, as emergency crews cleaned up the oil.

The slick came from the Malaysian-registered tanker MT Bunga Kelana 3, which was carrying nearly 62,000 tonnes of crude when it collided on Tuesday with the MV Waily, a bulk carrier registered in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

About 2,500 tonnes of crude leaked from a gash on the double-hulled tanker’s port side, officials said. Such tankers are designed to limit spillage in case of a rupture.

Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) said most of the leaked crude had been contained at sea.

Environmentalists were concerned that the slick could spread to Singapore’s northeastern coastline.

“Definitely, where we’re talking about Changi Beach and Chek Jawa, these areas have a high level of biodiversity,” said Louis Ng, executive director of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES).

Ng added that a 20-men team from ACRES had been at Changi Beach since 3am Saturday morning (1700 GMT Friday) to rescue wildlife hit by the oil, which included “hermit crabs, the starfish, sea snails and clams.”

The group said they had rescued 81 oil-covered animals at a beach along the east coast of Singapore on Friday.

Oil spill hits Changi Beach car parks 1-4: NEA

By S Ramesh | Posted: 29 May 2010 1330 hrs

SINGAPORE : The oil spill has now reached the areas between Car Parks 1 to 4 of Changi Beach.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) says as of 10am Saturday, light staining of parts of these beaches were observed.

Workers were deployed immediately to clean up the oil stains.

Meanwhile at Chek Jawa, oil absorbent booms and paddings were deployed at the parts affected yesterday. These have helped to keep the oil spill out of Chek Jawa.

There were no immediate signs of major damage to the Chek Jawa eco-system, but NParks is monitoring the situation closely.

Nparks says it is encouraged by the show of support from the public for Chek Jawa.

Many people have asked if they could volunteer their help.

 
 
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Emergency workers clearing a crude oil slick washed up at a beach in East coast park in Singapore

   
 

However, given the fragility of the eco-system at Chek Jawa, NEA says its preference at this stage is to work with volunteers familiar with the area or those who have the necessary expertise.

NEA is also in consultation with the NUS’ Raffles Museum Biodiversity Research and Tropical Marine Science Institute.

In the meantime, Chek Jawa is still open to visitors, but guided walks have been suspend in the next two weeks for the agencies to monitor the situation better.

NEA and the ship operator AET have also mobilised over 245 workers to clean up the oil on the affected beaches and 14 NEA officers are continuing with surveillance at East Coast Park, Changi Beach and Pulau Ubin.

The newly affected parts of Changi Beach have been closed and signages have been put up to warn the public not to go into the water.

The beaches along East Coast Park are still closed.

So the public’s advised to refrain from swimming and engaging in water activities in these areas. 

Clean-up of oil spill at Changi and East Coast to end soon

By Evelyn Lam/Joanne Chan/Evelyn Choo | Posted: 29 May 2010 2015 hrs

SINGAPORE : The National Environment Agency (NEA) on Saturday said that clean-up efforts of the oil spill in East Coast Park and Changi Beach following a collision of two vessels on Tuesday should be complete by Sunday.

The situation in Chek Jawa at Pulau Ubin is also under control, but researchers said there could be long-term effects on the eco-system.

It was a quiet affair for volunteers and workers, all trying to nurse Chek Jawa back to health.

The oil spill had seeped into the island on Friday, and they have been working since then.

Dong Kum Sang, volunteer, National Parks Board, said: “This morning, we were here at 7am, right up to almost lunch time. We were at the mangrove site. It was not that bad, it seems to be improving.”

Authorities said the eco-system was not severely damaged.

Andrew Tan, CEO, National Environment Agency, said: “As of today, most of it has been cleaned up.

“The National Parks Board, working together with groups such as the Tropical Marine Science Institute and the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, have been working hard to make sure that there is minimal environmental impact itself.

“So I think, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I would say that the situation in Chek Jawa is under control.”

Researchers, on the other hand, warn of long-term effects.

Peter Ng, director, Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, said: “We have not seen mass kills, but I am sure some are affected. (In the) longer term, the oil will affect the animals and plants in different ways.

“It may reduce the reproduction, it may reduce the growth rate, it might reduce their strength. And that has long-term implications.”

The public can still visit Chek Jawa, but there will be no guided walks in the next two weeks, to allow the NEA to monitor the situation.

The slick has also spread to Malaysian waters, to the east of Pulau Tekong.

Malaysian authorities have been informed and Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority and NEA are offering assistance.

Back at Changi Beach, more areas have been hit by the spill. Car parks one to four were the latest zones affected.

But Mr Tan said that the clean-up operation is on track.

He said: “Barring any new oil patches that hit our coast, we should be cleaning up most of East Coast Park and Changi Beach by tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, authorities said they will continue to monitor the situation closely.

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