JOHOR BARU: Some 300 tonnes of fuel oil could have spilt into the Johor Straits following a collision between two container ships at the Johor Port in Pasir Gudang.
No one was injured in the incident, but a large oil slick is heading towards Singapore, carried by the current after the collision at about 11pm on Tuesday.
More than 370 fishermen in the area are worried that the spill will affect their livelihood.
Port authorities were tight-lipped over the incident and declined to provide details on clean-up efforts.
A boat ferrying journalists to the affected area was detained by the authorities.
A power outage reportedly caused a Singapore-registered cargo vessel, which was coming in to dock, to crash into a stationary container ship.
Johor Health and Environment committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said the captain of Wan Hai 301 had reported a power outage and blackout on board just before the incident.
The impact caused a bunker tank on the Gibraltar-registered APL Denver to rupture and spill its contents.
Ayub said teams from the Department of Environment and Johor Port immediately started clean-up work and were trying to contain the oil slick, adding that an investigation into the collision had started.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (southern region) First Admiral Adon Shalan said the APL Denver bunker tank has a capacity of 300 tonnes, “but we are not sure how much has spilled out”.
“A lot has floated to the waters near Pulau Ubin, off Singapore.”
Johor South Fishermen’s Association chairman Azli Mohd Aziz said he was worried about the livelihood of the fishermen at the six villages.
“They are hesitant to go out to sea now because the oil can damage our nets and other gear.
“We are afraid that a change in the tides will shift the oil slick back into our waters,” he said.