As authorities race to clean up an oil spill that has washed up on the beach of one the Thailand’s popular islands, new news has been released that the spill has spread to other nearby islands as well.
On Saturday morning around 13,200 gallons of oil was spilled into the sea from a pipeline operated by PTT Global Chemical, a part of the state-owned oil and gas company, PTT Plc. The spill occurred when crude oil was being transferred from a tanker moored offshore to the pipeline where it would then be carried to the Map Ta Phut refinery. (Related article: Rig Fire Exposes Lingering Dangers of Offshore Drilling)
The oil slick floated on the sea for a day before being washed up in Prao Bay on the small resort island of Samet on Sunday night as a black tide of crude oil. PTT immediately issued an apology and claimed that the mess would be cleaned up within three days.
But the Marine and Coastal Resources provincial director, Puchong Saritdeechaikul, was quick to question that boast, stating that “there’s no way it will be finished by that time.” He also announced on Wednesday that his team had now detected oil sheens on other smaller islands close to Samet’s eastern coast, although he was happy to release that initial inspections of the local coral reef just 100 metres from Prao Bay was showing no signs of damage from the oil slick. (Related article: Investing in Shale Companies that Offer Good Shareholder Value)
On Wednesday the Deputy Governor of Rayong Province, Supeepat Chongpanish, said that the spill had been partly cleared away, but that much of the bay was still stained by small slicks. “The situation is definitely better than the previous days. We are starting to see real waves and ocean foam at the north end of the bay, not the black waves of oil. It has significantly improved, but there’s still work to do.”