Thailand: Oil spill blackens popular tourist beach

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thai_oil beachA few hours after Thailand’s largest oil firm PTT and the Royal Thai Navy “confirmed” on July 29 that the oil spill off the southeastern coast near Rayong that emerged on July 28 through a leaking pipeline was “contained” and “unlikely to cause environmental damage”, pictures went viral on the Internet that the black fluid has actually reached the popular holiday island of Koh Samet and Khao Laem Ya National Park.

Black waves of crude oil on Sunday washed up on a Koh Samet beach as part of the 50,000 tonnes of oil that are slowly moving eastwards. Reportedly, many holiday guests, locals and foreigners, have cut their holiday short after warnings from the authorities not to come close to the blackened water.

At least 300 navy soldiers are now fighting against the damage and the navy has dispatched 10 ships for an urgent cleanup with harsh chemicals that are likely to heavily impact marine life and coral reefs in the area. As of July 29, 600 meters of Phrao Bay on Koh Samet beach was covered in oil, with an oil slick 20-30 centimeters thick floating some 20 meters from the beach.

PTT Global Chemical, operator of the damaged pipeline, apologised on July 29 for the oil spill and promised to complete the clean up and restoration by August 1.

However, critics say that there might have been much more than 50,000 tonnes of oil leaking into the sea because the the quantity of dispersants authorities have been using should already have been enough to clean up the spill. In any case, marine environment and beach life would take at least six months to recover.

The opposition heavily criticised the government over how it handled the situation, with the navy giving statements that proved to be incorrect.

“When there’s an oil spill in the US, the president addresses the problem himself. In Thailand, we can’t even find a minister who will take charge,” an opposition MP said.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

A few hours after Thailand’s largest oil firm PTT and the Royal Thai Navy “confirmed” on July 29 that the oil spill off the southeastern coast near Rayong that emerged on July 28 through a leaking pipeline was “contained” and “unlikely to cause environmental damage”, pictures went viral on the Internet that the black fluid has actually reached the popular holiday island of Koh Samet and Khao Laem Ya National Park.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

thai_oil beachA few hours after Thailand’s largest oil firm PTT and the Royal Thai Navy “confirmed” on July 29 that the oil spill off the southeastern coast near Rayong that emerged on July 28 through a leaking pipeline was “contained” and “unlikely to cause environmental damage”, pictures went viral on the Internet that the black fluid has actually reached the popular holiday island of Koh Samet and Khao Laem Ya National Park.

Black waves of crude oil on Sunday washed up on a Koh Samet beach as part of the 50,000 tonnes of oil that are slowly moving eastwards. Reportedly, many holiday guests, locals and foreigners, have cut their holiday short after warnings from the authorities not to come close to the blackened water.

At least 300 navy soldiers are now fighting against the damage and the navy has dispatched 10 ships for an urgent cleanup with harsh chemicals that are likely to heavily impact marine life and coral reefs in the area. As of July 29, 600 meters of Phrao Bay on Koh Samet beach was covered in oil, with an oil slick 20-30 centimeters thick floating some 20 meters from the beach.

PTT Global Chemical, operator of the damaged pipeline, apologised on July 29 for the oil spill and promised to complete the clean up and restoration by August 1.

However, critics say that there might have been much more than 50,000 tonnes of oil leaking into the sea because the the quantity of dispersants authorities have been using should already have been enough to clean up the spill. In any case, marine environment and beach life would take at least six months to recover.

The opposition heavily criticised the government over how it handled the situation, with the navy giving statements that proved to be incorrect.

“When there’s an oil spill in the US, the president addresses the problem himself. In Thailand, we can’t even find a minister who will take charge,” an opposition MP said.

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