Thu, May 27, 2010
Oil slick clean-up gets under way

[Above: The oil slick off Singapore has reached the island state's eastern shores, where more than 200 workers are trying to contain the fallout.]

AN OIL slick, from a crude tanker damaged in a collision off Singapore, reached the city state's eastern coast as emergency crews worked to stop the spill from spreading.

Oil patches were sighted around a naval base, ferry terminal, sailing centre and resort near Changi Airport, and environmental crews battled to limit the impact of the disaster, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

A black film of oil could be seen floating in the waters off the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, which handles boat services to Indonesia, and a pungent kerosene-like smell hung in the air as darkness fell.

Over 200 emergency workers on site used absorbent foam to soak up the oil while containment and clean-up efforts continued at sea, with 19 vessels involved in the operation, the MPA said.

The Malaysian-registered tanker MT Bunga Kelana 3 was carrying nearly 62,000 tonnes of crude when it collided on Tuesday with the MV Waily, a bulk carrier registered in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Earlier, a spokesman for the tanker's operator, Malaysia- based petroleum shipper AET, said the spill was "more or less contained" at sea after being surrounded by booms installed by emergency-response vessels.

About 2,500 tonnes of crude had leaked from a gash on the double-hulled tanker's port side. Singapore food-industry regulators said 51 offshore seafood farms near the spill were loaned canvas skirting to cover their underwater nets and prevent any leaked oil from contaminating their stocks.



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