Phrao Bay set to welcome visitors Nov 1

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RAYONG, Oct 28 – Phrao Bay on Samet Island, about 3 km off the coast of Rayong province will reopen for tourists on November 1, following extensive cleanup after an oil spill hit the beach in late July.

Following continued monitoring of the quality of marine and coastal resources damaged by the spill, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Udom Kraiwatnussorn on Monday confirmed that the seawater quality has improved and now safe for tourists.

An estimated 50,000 litres of crude oil leaked from a PTT Global Chemical pipeline into the sea on July 27. Portions of the crude then drifted northwards to Phrao Bay on the western coast of Samet Island two days later, damaging the island’s marine ecosystem and tourist trade.

Mr Udom said the ministry has agreed to reopen the site for visitors from November 1 as the level of total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) is within the safety limit at less than one microgram per litre, while the mercury level is now less than 0.1 microgram per litre. Damaged reef and overall ecosystem have also started to recover.

Meanwhile, Natural Resources and Environment Permanent Secretary Chote Trachu told the media that two committees have been set up to monitor overall damages for the PTTGC in order to run a proper recovery plan for marine ecology such as how to install artificial reefs, island rehabilitation, waste disposal and water management.

The programme will be continuously monitored for a year.