Singapore rushes to clean up oil spill after boat hits stationary fuel ship

Singapore rushes to clean up oil spill after boat hits stationary fuel ship

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — An oil spill caused by a dredger boat hitting a stationary cargo ship has blackened part of Singapore’s southern coast, including the popular tourist island of Sentosa, and has sparked concerns according to which it could threaten marine fauna during cleaning. The operation was underway on Sunday.

The Dutch-flagged dredger Vox Maxima collided with the Singaporean fuel supply ship Marine Honor on Friday. It damaged the Marine Honor’s cargo tank, causing oil to leak into the sea.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said in a statement late Saturday that the oil leak from the ship had been contained and the oil that escaped from the damaged tanker had been treated with dispersants.

But due to tidal flow, processed oil landed along coasts, including Sentosa and other southern islands, in a nature reserve and on a public beach. Sentosa, which attracts millions of visitors each year, is home to one of Singapore’s two casinos, golf courses and Southeast Asia’s only Universal Studios theme park.

A portion of the public park and nature preserve’s waterfront was closed to facilitate cleanup efforts, the release said. Sentosa Beach will remain open to the public but maritime activities and swimming are prohibited.

Workers in orange suits were seen collecting sand during a clean-up operation at a deserted Sentosa beach on Sunday. Black water washed up on the oil-stained shore.

Authorities deployed 18 boats for cleanup efforts and laid nearly 1,500 meters of booms, temporary floating barriers to trap the oil spill.

“More will be deposited over the coming days to prevent further spread of oil onshore and facilitate the recovery of oil trapped off affected coasts and lagoons to prevent them from returning to the sea,” the statement said.

Ecologists and biologists are monitoring the full extent of damage to marine life and wildlife.

Local conservation group Marine Stewards reportedly said there were photos of dead fish, otters and kingfishers covered by an oil spill.

The group’s founder, Sue Ye, told the Singapore Straits Times that oil spills suffocate and suffocate fish, birds and marine animals that need to come to the surface to breathe, such as turtles and dolphins.

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