Much of the crude oil that leaked near Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Rayong has now been contained, after an amount of crude started leaking from an undersea pipeline at about 9 pm on Tuesday night (25 Jan). Vessels are now spraying chemicals onto the patches of oil to minimize the impact on the environment.
Star Petroleum Refining Plc., which is responsible for the pipeline, told the press that 160,000 liters of oil were leaked. It said about 20,000 liters still remain in the sea.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister WarawutSilpa-archa said after participating in an aerial survey of the area in question that the situation is not nearly as dire as initially feared. He said the amount of leaked oil was about 20,000 liters, and not 200,000-400,000 liters as initially reported. The oil patch is also not expected to wash ashore, and aircraft will now be used to deliver chemicals that will cause the oil to dissipate and sink, so that damage along the shoreline is avoided.
The environment minister said a long-term impact evaluation will be carried out on whether corals are damaged by the dissipated oil. Asked whether the oil leak would affect the prices of seafood, he said it is too soon to answer the question and there is insufficient information at the moment.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha has tasked relevant agencies to work with Star Petroleum Refining Plc. to deal with repercussions from the leak and to prevent oil from reaching beaches. The Ministry of Defense has also been told to provide manpower and ships to support clean-up operations. Locals and fishermen in the area are to be informed of best practices in light of the incident.
Deputy Minister of Transport Atirat Ratanasate has ordered the Marine Department to operate in line with the established national protocol for the prevention and dissipation of oil spills. Mr. Atirat said the oil slick extended over a 200-meter by 600-meter area and the amount of leak has yet to be verified.
7 tug boat trips and 4 helicopter trips were reportedly made today (26 Jan) to deliver dispersants to the oil patch to break down the oil. (NNT)