Chemical used in oil slick cleanup safe: Energy Minister

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BANGKOK, July 31 — The chemical dispersant used in the oil spill clean-up operation at Rayong’s Samet Island is safe according to international standards, Energy Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal said today.

Mr Pongsak said Slickgone is an internationally approved dispersant for treating oil spills. The agencies concerned–including the Marine Department and the Royal Thai Navy–had discussed alternatives before making a decision to use it.

He said the spill incident was rated at Level 2 from the three levels of oil spill and the PTT Global Chemical Plc (PTTGC) requested assistance from the Singapore-based Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) in which PTT is also a member to help handle the situation.

Meanwhile, Fisheries Department director general Wimol Jantrarotai said the department has been closely monitoring the situation, particularly the contamination of the oil slick and the chemical used to clean up the spill.

He said water samples have been taken for examination and the contamination checks would be carried out for at least a month.

No large numbers of fish have been found dead. So far only two fish were found dead, and they were sent to Chulalongkorn University to be examined for any residue. The results are expected to be known next week.

Defence Ministry spokesman Col Thanathip Sawangsaeng said that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, now on an Africa trip, telephoned from Mozambique yesterday and assigned the Defence, Energy and Natural Resources and Environment Ministries to deal with the oil spill problem and urgently clean up the oil slick at Samet’s Phrao Bay.

The premier also instructed the Royal Thai Navy to dispatch additional 200 personnel to help clean up the oil slick and restore the environment.

The navy ships stand ready to support the clean-up operation, he said.