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Oil slick patches spotted in Malaysian waters

An oil slick that had closed public beaches on Singapore's eastern coastline has been mostly contained but patches have drifted into Malaysian waters, officials said.

world Updated: May 30, 2010 12:42 IST

An oil slick that had closed public beaches on Singapore's eastern coastline has been mostly contained but patches have drifted into Malaysian waters, officials said.

"The isolated patches of oil that were close to East Coast Park have been largely contained," the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said in a statement late Saturday.

But it added: "An oil slick was observed this morning in Malaysian waters off Tanjong Pengelih.

"MPA and the National Environment Agency informed our Malaysian counterparts of the observation and have offered our assistance," the agency said, without detailing the size of the slick in Malaysia.

Tanjong Pengelih in southern Malaysia is located east of Singapore's Changi Beach. No "significant patches" have been observed off Changi itself or within Singapore's port waters, the MPA said.

The spill came from the Malaysian-registered tanker MT Bunga Kelana 3, which 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.

About 2,500 tonnes of crude leaked from a gash in the double-hulled tanker but most of it was contained at sea, according to the MPA.

In its own update, the National Environment Agency said cleanup efforts at Changi Beach and an offshore marine nature reserve were "nearing completion".

The NEA said containment booms set up to prevent oil from reaching more of the vulnerable reserve at Chek Jawa had been effective, with hundreds of emergency personnel and volunteers cleaning up oil that did seep through.

"There are no immediate signs of major damage to the Chek Jawa ecosystem," the NEA said.