Scramble to contain S’pore oil spill


Emergency teams scrambled to contain about 2000 tonnes of crude oil that leaked into the Singapore Strait yesterday after two ships collided, port officials said.

Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority said the Malaysian-registered tanker MT Bunga Kelana 3 and the MV Waily, a bulk carrier registered in St Vincent and the Grenadines, had collided and the cargo tank on the Malaysian vessel was damaged.

Four patrol and emergency response vessels and three private craft with oil-spill equipment had been sent to the area, the authority said. “Work is ongoing to contain and clean up the oil spill,” it said.

There were no injuries and shipping traffic was not affected by the incident, which happened 13km off Singapore shortly before dawn, the MPA said.

Both ships were at anchor afterwards and Malaysia and Indonesia had been kept informed.

Malaysia’s Maritime Enforcement Agency sid the collision tore a 10m gash in the tanker’s port side. The tanker’s operators, Malaysia-based AET, said: “Oil booms are being placed around the leaked cargo to contain the spill.” It said the ship had been “hit by the bow of the other vessel as Bunga Kelana 3 was travelling from east to west in the Traffic Separation Scheme of the Singapore Strait”.

The TSS is a commercial channel running along the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

Salvage operators said the authorities’ swift response would lessen the impact of the spill. “I think it can be controlled, one said, adding: “2000 tonnes will not do as much damage if the teams are already there.”

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