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Singapore Deploys More Resources to Contain Bunker Spill

Singapore cleanup
Courtesy MPA Singapore

Published Jun 17, 2024 10:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

A large bunker fuel spill from a serious allision last weekend is spreading along Singapore's waterfront, and the authorities are intensifying containment and cleanup efforts to minimize the impact. 

On June 14, the dredger Vox Maxima reported loss of steering and propulsion, then struck the moored bunker tanker Marine Honour, hitting the vessel amidships on the starboard side. The allision ruptured one of the Honour's cargo tanks, releasing half the contents into the water. The estimated volume of the spill amounts to about 400 tonnes of low-sulfur bunker fuel, according to Maritime and Port Authority Singapore CEO Eng. Dih Teo. All crewmembers were reported safe, and both vessels remained stable. 

The MPA responded quickly by spraying dispersants on the slick and mobilizing skimmers to begin removing oil. About 1.5 kilometers of booms were deployed to contain the spill in the initial response, and the effort continues to gain momentum. The MPA expects to double the amount of boom deployed in the coming days, and it has brought in a contractor with two Current Buster systems to collect oil from the surface in high-priority areas. Both Oil Spill Response Ltd (OSRL) and T&T Group are on scene and working on the spill response effort. 

On shore, parks agency NParks is coordinating the beachfront cleanup with a team of 250 personnel. Trained volunteers are assisting with the monitoring effort to track the impact of oil pollution, which continues to spread to new areas. 

On Monday, oil was detected off the Changi district, home to Singapore's main airport and its largest convention center. A boom has been deployed in the area as a preventive measure, along with one of the two Current Buster systems. 

 

Air quality readings are still within acceptable limits, the nation's environmental regulator said Monday. Luckily, no oil been detected near the seawater intake for the Jurong Island Desalination Plant, which supplies some of the city's fresh water. The Marina East Desalination plant has switched over to drawing its intake water from the Marina Reservoir as a precautionary measure. 

"There is no impact to our freshwater reservoirs as the oil spill has been limited to our coastal areas and some coastal drains. These drains convey and discharge stormwater to the sea and are not linked to our reservoirs," national water utility PUB said in a statement.