Marine officials struggle to contain oil from capsized cruise ship off Sriracha

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Marine Department and Royal Thai Navy officials were struggling to contain oil leaking from an abandoned cruise ship that capsized off Sriracha, but winds were carrying the slick away from local beaches.

The Marine Department on Feb. 28 said high winds and waves had impeded its efforts to contain the spill originating from the Chinese-flagged Ocean Dream, which had keeled over and partially sunk near Koh Nok, about two kilometers off the Sriracha coast.

In a press statement, the department also said high seas had thwarted the mooring of an oil skimmer near to the stricken cruise liner, which would have helped recover some of the 20 tons of oil that leaked out after it capsized around 1 a.m. on Feb. 27.

Marine Department and Royal Thai Navy officials were struggling to contain oil leaking from the abandoned cruise ship, Chinese-flagged Ocean Dream that capsized off Sriracha, but winds were carrying the slick away from local beaches.

By Monday, the oil had spread over about 5.5 sq. kilometers. Marine and navy officials sprayed 300 liters of chemical dispersants to break up the spill. At the same time, northeasterly winds were blowing the slick out to sea and away from Sriracha and Pattaya beaches.

Divers were expected to try to reach the ship’s fuel system to close the leak during the week.

The ship, owned by JC Marine Ltd., had been left unattended since March 2014. Weakened steel and a large open door just above the water line let water gush in and the vessel began to list around Feb. 22.

Vice Adm. Rungsarit Sattayanukul, commander of the First Naval Area Command, said the Marine Office Region 6 had called in the ship’s owners to arrange salvage of the vessel.