Tonnes of sand scooped up after oil spill

Toxic spill: A worker operating a vacuum system during the cleanup at Tanjong Beach in Sentosa. — Reuters

OVER 71,000kg of oil-soaked sand has been scooped up at the three Sentosa beaches since June 15, a day after 400 tonnes of fuel were leaked into the sea from a damaged bunker vessel at Pasir Panjang Terminal.

In a Facebook post on June 20, Sustainability and the Environment Minister Grace Fu said she had visited Sentosa to observe the ongoing cleanup process, which “involves a lot of hard work”.

She said the immediate focus is to stop the oil spill from spreading inwards, adding that over 71,000kg of oil-soaked sand has since been scooped up at Palawan, Siloso and Tanjong beaches, whose shorelines were blackened after the oil spill.

“In addition, we also need to clean the oil off rock bunds and breakwaters near beaches,” Fu said, adding that the rock bunds are not as accessible as beach shorelines and their surfaces are uneven.

“Oil that has slipped into the boulder crevices also needs to be thoroughly flushed out, and oil within the lagoon needs to be removed,” she said.

“We therefore seek the public’s patience and understanding that more time is needed for the cleanup work along the beachfronts.

:Before reopening, we also need to ensure that water quality is within safe levels,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, Singapore will seek compensation for the costs incurred in an oil spill last week from the owners of the stationary vessel that discharged the oil, local media CNA reported on Thursday.

The Maritime and Port Authority told CNA that the shipowner of Singapore-flagged Marine Honour – which was hit by Netherlands-flagged dredger Vox Maxima – is liable for costs incurred in containing and cleaning the oil spill and damage to infrastructure.

Earlier, the port authority said the dredger Vox Maxima had experienced a sudden loss in engine and steering control before it hit Marine Honour at Pasir Panjang Terminal. — The Straits Times/ANN/Reuters

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