Environment

Oil spill spreads to St John’s & Lazarus islands, beaches closed till further notice

Public advised to keep away from St John’s, Lazarus & Kusu islands due to oil spill clean-up efforts

An oil spill that has affected several of Singapore’s coastal areas has now spread to the Southern Islands, the authorities have said.

Oil has washed up on the shores of St John’s and Lazarus islands.

St John’s Island. Source: St. John’s Island Marine Laboratory on Facebook

To facilitate clean-up efforts, the beaches on these islands, as well as Kusu Island will be shut till further notice.

Oil spill has spread to several of S’pore’s shorelines

An update on the oil spill was provided in a joint statement by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), National Environment Agency (NEA), National Parks Board (NParks), and Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) on Sunday (16 June).

It said due to the tidal current, oil from the oil spill had landed along several of Singapore’s shorelines, including those at:

  • Sentosa
  • Labrador Nature Reserve
  • the Southern Islands
  • Marina South Pier
  • East Coast Park

The situation at East Coast Park. Source: Desmond Lee on Facebook

No oil slick has been reported in the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) of the Singapore Strait as of 1.30pm on Sunday. No oil spillage impact has been observed at West Coast Park either.

NParks & volunteers visit St John’s & Lazarus islands to observe oil spill

NParks said in a Facebook post on Sunday (16 June) that St John’s and Lazarus islands had been affected by the oil spill.

Lazarus Island. Source: Marine Stewards on Facebook

NParks staff, scientists and Friends of Marine Park volunteers visited the two Southern Islands that day to observe and document the impact of the oil spill.

Source: NParks on Facebook

The volunteers monitored water and shoreline conditions, among other things, NParks added.

Beaches at St John’s, Lazarus & Kusu islands closed due to oil spill clean-up

To facilitate clean-up efforts, which are already taking place, beaches across Singapore have been closed.

 

While beaches in East Coast Park, Labrador Nature Reserve and Sentosa were shut down on Saturday (15 June), the agencies added the beaches at three Southern Islands to the list on Sunday.

Thus, the beaches at St John’s, Lazarus, and Kusu islands will be closed until further notice.

St John’s Island. Source: St. John’s Island Marine Laboratory on Facebook

They join beaches in:

  1. Area B to H of the beachfront at East Coast Park (the rest of the park remains open)
  2. the jetty and Rocky Shore of Labrador Nature Reserve

As for Sentosa’s Tanjong, Palawan, and Siloso beaches, sea activities and swimming are not allowed though they are still open to the public.

The public is advised to keep away from these areas.

1,600m of container booms to be laid over next few days

As part of the clean-up, close to 1,500m of container booms have been progressively deployed since last Friday (14 June).

They can be seen at locations such as the three beaches at Sentosa, the entrance of Keppel Marina, off Labrador Nature Reserve, East Coast Park and West Coast Park.

West Coast Park. Source: Desmond Lee on Facebook

Another 1,600m of booms will be laid over the next few days to prevent the oil from further spreading onto the shore.

As for the oil recovery efforts at sea, they’re being supported by Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL), the largest international industry-funded cooperative providing oil spill response
services.

OSRL will deploy two floating containment and recovery devices from a vessel that will corral and concentrate the oil on the water’s surface.

They will also deploy two skimmer craft, which are specialised vessels equipped with skimming equipment to skim and “lift” the oil off the water surface into storage tanks.

Oil spill due to allision at Pasir Panjang Terminal

The oil spill occurred due to an allision between a Netherlands-flagged dredger, Vox Maxima, and a stationary Singapore-flagged bunker vessel, Marine Honour, which was alongside a container vessel berthed at the Pasir Panjang Terminal on Friday (14 June) afternoon, MPA said.

An allision is when a moving ship runs into another ship that is stationary.

It occurred after the dredger experienced “a sudden loss in engine and steering control”, the statement said.

The allision caused one of the bunker vessel’s oil cargo tanks to rupture, releasing its contents of low-sulphur fuel oil to the sea.

MPA investigations are ongoing and being assisted by the master of the vessel and its crew.

MPA is also working with British Marine, the insurer of Marine Honour, to set up a contact for third-party claims to attend to parties affected by the spill. Those with claims may email
marinehonour@helmsmanlaw.com.

More than 1,500 sign up to help with clean-up

On Saturday night, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said members of the public may sign up as volunteers if they want to help out with the oil spill management efforts.

As a result, NParks has received an overwhelming response, with more than 1,500 sign-ups as of Sunday afternoon.

NParks will not be able to activate everyone who signed up, but thanked them for their prompt responses.

It will activate volunteers if more help is needed.

For their safety, volunteers will not be deployed for shoreline clean-up.

Members of the public who encounter any oil-slicked animals can contact the Animal Response Centre’s 24-hour hotline at 1800 476 1600.

Also read: Oil spill spreads to East Coast Park & other areas, some beaches closed for clean-up

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured image adapted from St. John’s Island Marine Laboratory on Facebook.

Jeremy Lee

Analog person making do with a digital world.

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