ST.com News: Crude oil spill off S’pore

May 25, 2010

ST.com News: Crude oil spill off S’pore

CRUDE oil was spilled off Singapore’s south-eastern coast after two ships collided on Tuesday, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said in an e-mailed statement.

The MT Bunga Kelana 3 tanker collided with the MV Waily bulk carrier at about 6.10am in the Singapore Strait, 13km south-east of Changi East, the statement said.

‘There were no report of injury to crew members. However, MT Bunga Kelana 3 suffered damage to one of its cargo tanks, resulting in an oil spill. The Master of MT Bunga Kelana 3 estimated that 2,000 tonnes of crude oil could have spilled into the sea,’ the statement said.

It added that the MPA ‘immediately dispatched four patrol and emergency response craft to the affected area. MPA also activated oil spill response compan…

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What is the impact of oil spill on Chek Jawa? (from Wild Singapore Blog)

From the Straits Times:

Prof Ng said that the oil slick that has hit the Chek Jawa wetlands has not resulted in any mass destruction of wildlife there. However, signs of death may show up over the next few days. Yesterday, fishes and crabs could still be spotted near the shoreline.

‘In the short term, some animals will die. We have not seen mass kills but I’m sure some are affected,’ he told reporters during a trip to the wetlands yesterday to observe the damage. The breathing of fishes, for example, will be affected if their gills are coated with oil.

Prof Ng and his team of researchers have been working closely with the National Parks Board to monitor the situation at the nature area.

While the scale of the pollution was ‘minor’, he cautioned that any amount could upset the fragile ecosystem in Chek Jawa.

With most of the oil patches along the wetlands cleaned up yesterday evening, he said the next step will be to monitor the long- term effects of the pollution. As this is the first major pollution in the area, it is unclear how the ecosystem there will react.

Oil pollution could reduce the reproduction rate of the wildlife and stunt its growth, he said, adding that the accident was a ‘wake-up call as to what can go wrong’.

A post-mortem of the clean-up efforts should be done to help the relevant bodies prepare for a similar situation, or worse.

‘The authorities have already done what there is to be done… At this stage, the system has to self-recover,’ he said. ‘If we don’t let too much oil hit it, the chances of recovery are not too bad.’

[Prof Peter Ng is director of the Tropical Marine Science Institute, and director of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research at the National University of Singapore.]

Andrew Tan, CEO, National Environment Agency is quoted as saying: “Our priority was to remove the sludge rather than rescue the animals.”

He also said “It’s unfortunate that Chek Jawa had suffered two environmental threats within such a short time.” Three years ago, as a result of heavy rains, the area was hit by freshwater flooding which altered the salinity of the water and led to the deaths of many sea creatures there. “It will take time to see how soon the ecosystems here will recover,” he said.

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