• 2024 June 17 16:37

    MPA: Joint oil spill clean-up operations advance to next phase

    More oil recovery vessels will be deployed over the next few days and air quality remains well within safe levels

    The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) says that the next phase of the clean-up operations has commenced with the additional deployment of various booms and oil recovery systems. 1500 metres of booms have been deployed, and an additional 1600 metres will be deployed over the next few days in designated sites to support the containment of accumulated oil to facilitate the clean- up operation off the beaches and shorelines. Additional booms will also be deployed as a preventive measure off Changi East. Seven oil recovery assets have been deployed today to skim and collect the remaining oil spillage off the water surface to minimise further spread of the oil.

    Deployment of additional booms
    The areas with the deployment of the additional booms in progress are as follows. These will be in addition to those already deployed at Keppel Marina, East Coast Park, Labrador Nature Reserve and West Coast Park.
    a. Sentosa: The booms at Palawan beach have been installed, with the remaining booms to be fully deployed at Siloso beach and Tanjong beach by 18 June. These booms will be important to facilitate the clean-up operations upstream to prevent more oil from entering the beach lagoons and the accumulated oil from going back to sea and affecting downstream locations. These booms are in addition to those have already been partially deployed at Tanjong beach and those that have been fully deployed on 16 June at Sentosa Cove and Oneo15 Marina Sentosa Cove.
    b. Labrador Nature Reserve: Additional booms will be deployed to facilitate cleaning of oil accumulated at the catchment areas. These will be deployed by 18 June. These are in additional to the booms already deployed there to protect Berlayer Creek and the Rocky Shore at Labrador Nature Reserve.
    c. Southern Islands: Booms will be deployed at selected location at Cooper Channel, Southern islands, to facilitate clean-up of the accumulated oil there. 3. Oil absorbent booms have been deployed along stretches of the East Coast Park beaches that are significantly impacted, and at the canal openings to trap oil to prevent them from flowing back into the canal. Oil slicks continue to accumulate along East Coast Park. The clean-up operations along the beaches will be an ongoing process.

    Some of the oil has been seen off Changi today. Oil absorbent booms have been deployed off biodiversity-sensitive areas at Chek Jawa Wetlands at Pulau Ubin, Coney Island Park, and Pasir Ris Park as preventive measures. While West Coast Park is not affected, oil absorbent booms have already been deployed at the park to protect the mangroves at the Marsh Garden. Over the next few days, additional containment and absorbent booms will be deployed to protect the fish farms at the East Johor Straits and also Chek Jawa Wetlands and Changi Creek. A Current Buster system, a specialised oil floating containment and recovery device deployed from vessels will be deployed on 18 June off the Changi Exhibition Centre as a pre-emptive measure. Each system consists of a boom with a skirt that extends below the water surface to corral and collect the oil on the water surface.

    PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency has updated that operations at Singapore’s desalination plants and freshwater reservoirs remain unaffected. Deployment Of Oil Recovery Vessels and Systems at Sea Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) has deployed two Current Buster systems. One of the Current Buster systems is deployed off Labrador Nature Reserve to collect the weathered oil. The other system is deployed off Bedok Jetty. The Current Buster is capable of collecting up to five tonnes of oil in one craft-load before discharging.

    Two sets of skimmer-systems operated by T&T Salvage and Singapore Salvage Engineers Pte Ltd have also been deployed. The system includes the craft- towed booms to corral the surface oil and a skimmer to skim and “lift” the oil off the water surface into storage tanks. A skimmer system is deployed at Marina South Pier while another is deployed off East Coast Lagoon.

    The Current Buster systems and skimmer craft are in addition to three vessels- towed collection booms systems deployed by Singapore Salvage Engineers Pte Ltd.

    More oil recovery vessels will be deployed over the next few days.

    The National Environment Agency (NEA) has been conducting daily air quality tests at affected areas along Sentosa, East Coast Park, Labrador Nature Reserve since 15 June. This is to ensure the safety of the public and personnel involved in the clean-up operations. The daily test includes measuring levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including Benzene, Ethylbenzene, Toluene, and Xylene (BTX), that are commonly associated with bunkering fuels and other petrochemicals. Thus far, the air quality at the affected areas is well within safe levels. In addition, NEA monitors ambient levels of VOCs at various locations in Singapore and no anomalies have been detected.

    Cleaning efforts at both East Coast Park and Labrador Nature Reserve will continue to be carried out by NEA cleaners. As at 17 June 2024 at 6:00pm, there are no signs of oil slick within Sisters’ Islands Marine Park, with oil sheen observed in the surrounding waters.

    The Maritime and Port Authority and NEA have informed the Malaysian and Indonesian authorities. Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are part of the Revolving Fund Committee, where the three member states can request and provide support for oil spills and clean-up operations.

    About Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)
    MPA was established on 2 February 1996 with the mission to develop Singapore as a premier global hub port and international maritime centre, and to advance and safeguard Singapore’s strategic maritime interests. MPA is the driving force behind Singapore’s port and maritime development, taking on the roles of port authority, maritime and port regulator and planner, international maritime centre champion, national maritime representative and a champion of digitalisation and decarbonisation efforts at regional and international fora such as at the International Maritime Organization. MPA is responsible for the overall development and growth of the maritime domain and Port of Singapore. In 2023, Singapore’s annual vessel arrival tonnage crossed 3 billion Gross Tonnage and remains the world’s busiest transshipment hub, with a total container throughput of 39.0 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

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