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Singapore oil spill raises concerns over safety protocols and emergency response

Netizens express concerns over safety protocols following Singapore oil spill. Questions arise over the spread of oil from the spillage point and the effectiveness of emergency protocols. Calls for investigations and preventive measures highlight public scrutiny amid environmental impact concerns.



SINGAPORE: Netizens are questioning the safety protocols at the terminal regarding the oil spill and are hoping that the marine company responsible for breaching regulations will be issued a hefty fine.

Oil has washed up along several beaches in Singapore, including Sentosa Island and East Coast Park, following a collision between a dredger and a bunker vessel at Pasir Panjang Terminal on Friday (14 June).

The incident resulted in a spillage after a Netherlands-flagged dredger struck a stationary Singapore-flagged bunker vessel around 2:20 pm the same day, causing oil to leak from the damaged cargo tank.

Authorities swiftly responded with closures and clean-up operations.

Eighteen response craft have been deployed, deploying approximately 1,500 meters of containment booms, with plans for more to prevent further spread of the oil spill.

East Coast Park’s beachfront, spanning from areas B to H, has been closed until further notice to facilitate these operations, as announced by authorities on Saturday evening (15 June).

Additionally, closures include the jetty and rocky shore at Labrador Nature Reserve.

While Sentosa’s Palawan, Siloso, and Tanjong beaches remain open, swimming and sea activities are currently prohibited.

These measures were detailed in a joint statement by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the National Environment Agency (NEA), the National Parks Board (NParks), and Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC).

The joint statement confirmed that treated oil had reached several shorelines, including those at Sentosa, Labrador Nature Reserve, the Southern Islands, Marina South Pier, and East Coast Park.

Although Sister’s Islands Marine Park showed no signs of oil slick, an oil sheen was observed in surrounding waters.

National Development Minister Desmond Lee took to Facebook to caution the public against visiting Labrador Nature Reserve due to strong fumes resulting from the oil spill.

He stated, “NParks colleagues are deploying booms to protect the rocky shores from further contamination. We are closely monitoring the situation to ensure swift containment and cleanup efforts.”

He also provided an update on precautionary measures at West Coast Park, where booms have been strategically placed in canals feeding the mangrove, despite the area not being directly affected by the spill.

Meanwhile, closer to Sentosa, the spillage affected the Caribbean at Keppel Bay condominium, with residents noting an oil sheen and petrol smell.

Surfactant spraying in nearby waters appears to have mitigated the impact.

Environmental impact

Local conservation group Marine Stewards reported to CNA sightings of dead fish and oil-covered otters, primarily around the Southern Islands.

Founder Sue Ye noted that it is too early to determine the full extent of the damage.

A kingfisher has been rescued from Marina at Keppel Bay, while another was seen covered in oil at Lazarus Island.

An MPA-led Emergency Operation Centre has been established to coordinate the response, with key agencies involved.

The joint statement confirmed that the oil spill from the vessel has been contained, with no further leakage since Friday evening.

Dispersants treated the escaped oil, and drones and satellite imagery are assisting mitigation efforts.

MPA stated on Saturday afternoon that navigational traffic remains unaffected, and berthing operations at Pasir Panjang Terminal continue as usual.

People encountering oil-slicked animals can contact the Animal Response Centre at 1800 476 1600 for assistance.

Netizens raise concerns over safety protocols following Singapore oil spill

In response to CNA’s Facebook post about the recent oil spill in Singapore, numerous netizens have voiced their concerns regarding the safety protocols at the terminal and the handling of the incident.

One netizen questioned the efficiency of the safety measures, asking why the oil was allowed to drift so far from the spillage point and what the emergency containment protocol is.

They emphasized the need for an investigation to identify lapses and prevent future occurrences.

However, in response to the comments, one netizen highlighted the influence of sea currents and wind conditions on the effectiveness of cleanup efforts.

They pointed out, “Oil floats on water, and depending on the current and wind, it can be swept anywhere.”

They emphasized that Singapore’s strong sea currents could pose challenges to containment and cleanup operations.

Another user highlighted the lack of preventive measures, questioning why floating boom lines were not deployed immediately to contain the spill.

They pointed out that millions of barrels of crude oil pass through Singapore waters regularly, and even sewage cleaning teams use floating lines to stop rubbish from reaching the sea.

They suggested that similar measures should be part of emergency plans by the Ports Authority, Coastal Guards, or the Navy.

Netizens question the delayed response

One netizen questioned the delayed activation of emergency containment services, highlighting that despite the oil spill occurring at Pasir Panjang Terminal, the emergency response was only initiated after East Coast and Sentosa beaches were already affected.

Calls for investigation and accountability

Several netizens called for a criminal investigation into potential negligence or sabotage, emphasizing the importance of accountability.

Others suggested imposing hefty fines on the marine company responsible for breaching regulations, stressing that strict penalties are necessary to ensure compliance and prevent future incidents.

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A simple oil spill and they are already struggling. Imagine if we have nuclear energy and there is reactor leak…. will the whole Singapore be wiped out?

I thought we had a specialist oil spill response entity in Singapore setup just for this type of emergency. With all their specialised equipment hardware and whatever consumables required kept in warehouse ready to respond to such emergency here and in the region. Their staff are just train to deal with such oil spill emergency. From the look at how and speed of the oil sleek spread, I think we can conclude that this entity and our authority is a complete failure. This is just a bunker barge. Can’t imagine if this happen to a VLCC here. Maybe our Pappy… Read more »

Aiyah,make $$$$ first then we will do a song & dance & bury/cover the problem by keeping leeports tightly controlled

Very distressful watching this huge oil spill accident destroying our beautiful shores….
How many fish, birds and sea creatures may have perished ..sad.

What was it that Iron Mike Tyson said? “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”.

Likewise, Singapore APPEARS on the surface to have all the systems and protocols in place UNTIL the rubber meets the road and we find the wheel flying off. We have seen it with our MRT. We have seen it with the pandemic response. And now we see how USELESS all of PSA/MPA etc response plans are in practice.

One day, we will find to our cost the SAME thing with the SAF as well.

Look at how many X numbers of Policemen tasked to disarm a parang wielding man, look at the SCDF how, and the time taken to deploy safety balloon nets to catch jumpers, look at how the Policemen chase a taser rogue, look at how Policemen handle a case of naked man or woman (I SAW NONE of them carry blankets for example, or clothings ) FINALLY LOOK AT HOW MANY BIG SIZE, ADULTS NEEDED to TAIL and INTERROGATE Ben Leong, just a timid looking student – ALL these can give one a sizing up how SG (amateurish looking) officers handle… Read more »

Overall Singapore is best described as Nice to Behold, But Bad for Eating. Take a critical look, do one’s own judgement. Leave out entirely what is officially published and marketed. Read in between the lines, Listen to what is Unspoken, and DIG out when possible, perhaps deduce wisely, intelligently WHAT that is NOT espoused and Trumpeted. When they keep PROMOTING NO BLAME CULTURE, WHEN they REFUSE to ANSWER Questions DIRECTLY, When they said they have. Figures BUT Whats the Point, and LASTLY, IMPORTANTLY when Parliament DEALS with issues – ALL THESE are AND WOULD paint the TRUEST, MOST DIRECT picture… Read more »

When oil spilled over to the east coast from pasir panjang, we all know this is a huge destruction. Maybe complacency set in in the first moment in this new 4G leadership.
To make thing worse, many volunteers, not civil servants, are roped in to help clean up the mess.
Any head to roll, LW?