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Escalating response from authorities suggests inadequate initial reaction to oil spill

Contrary to claims of an adequate response by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore to the 14 June oil spill, escalating containment measures by Singapore authorities reveal a different story.



Contrary to the assertions of an adequate response by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to the oil spill on 14 June, the unfolding events and the progressive efforts by various government agencies suggest a different narrative.

The series of escalating measures taken by the MPA, National Environment Agency (NEA), National Parks Board (NParks), and Sentosa Development Corporation,  and their contractors strongly suggest that the initial response was insufficient, potentially leading to damage that could have been contained on day one.

Initial Incident and Response

On 14 June, the MPA reported an allision between a Netherlands-flagged dredger, VOX MAXIMA, and a stationary Singapore-flagged bunker vessel, MARINE HONOUR.

The incident occurred at about 2:20 PM at the Pasir Panjang Terminal, resulting in some oil spilling from a damaged cargo tank on the MARINE HONOUR.

It was reported that 400 metric tons of fuel leaked into the sea, with another 400 metric tons remaining in the cargo hold.

In its media release, the MPA stated that the affected cargo tank had been isolated and the spill contained, and a patrol craft and an oil skimmer were deployed in response.

Skimmer craft (Photo: Chee Hong Tat’s Facebook page)

Subsequent Developments and Responses

However, the situation quickly evolved, revealing the inadequacy of the initial response.

On 15 June, the MPA acknowledged that patches of oil had reached the beaches at Sentosa and East Coast. To address this, 16 oil spill response craft were deployed to spray oil dispersants and collect oil slicks.

By the same day, a joint agency press release indicated that 18 response craft were in operation, with close to 1,500 meters of containment booms deployed and more planned over the next few days.

The continued escalation was evident on 16 June, with the deployment of an additional 1,600 meters of containment booms at various locations, including beaches at Sentosa, the entrance of Keppel Marina, and several parks.

The MPA also introduced two Current Buster systems on top of two skimmer crafts to enhance the containment and recovery efforts.

Further Actions and Statements

By 17 June, the joint agency statement reported that the containment efforts had ramped up significantly. The deployment included additional booms, oil recovery assets, and specialized systems like the Current Buster and skimmer systems to collect and corral the oil.

The efforts were further expanded on 20 June, with three Current Buster systems deployed and a total length of 3,400 meters of booms laid, surpassing the initially planned 3,100 meters.

Current Buster systems deployed to clean up the oil spills

Reflection on the Response

Given that the oil spill involved only 400 metric tons—a much smaller amount than what was simulated in the multi-agency Joint Oil Spill Exercise (JOSE) 2022 to test and demonstrate Singapore’s operational readiness to respond to a simulated oil spill incident resulting from a “collision” between a tanker and a bulk carrier near the Raffles Reserved Anchorage—the response to the actual spill raises concerns.

In that exercise, the simulated tanker collision would have caused an oil spill 30 times more severe than the spill on 14 June under the same parameters, yet the MPA’s exercise concluded with no issues.

Asia Dawn used in MPA’s JOSE 2022 exercise

However, the actual incident painted a different picture of MPA’s containment capacity and capabilities, with the scale and escalation of the containment efforts being quite telling.

The progressive increase in resources and measures suggests that the initial containment efforts of the 400-metric-ton oil spill were inadequate.

This discrepancy between the MPA’s initial definitive statement on 14 June and the subsequent frantic measures to contain the spillage points to a failure in the initial response.

The damages, which should have been contained on the first day, were allowed to escalate, affecting a broader area, which has even ended up in Johor and Bintan, Indonesia.

This situation suggests a critical gap in the MPA’s initial assessment and action, undermining their claim of having contained the spill early on.

Given the limited information available, Singaporeans can only get answers about what really transpired following the incident on 14 June through an independent review of the incident to determine whether MPA’s response was sufficient and to assess the extent of the environmental damage caused by the incident.

If a spill of 400 metric tons cannot be effectively contained, a similar incident involving a larger tanker could cause even greater environmental damage. Addressing these shortcomings now is crucial to preventing potentially catastrophic consequences in the future.

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Really admire people here. Know nuts and yet can comments and blame like an expert. No need to have any oil spill knowledge and experience, read here and there from not sure what source, gather information and formulated your own logical rational, hey presto, I become a oil spill subject matter expert and started to write like a professor. CHT is absolutely right, you guys are nothing but trolls, indeed.

BLUNDER after blunder after Blunders.

No Ownership of MISTAKES in sight, EXCEPT lies after Lies after Lies, and these lies are getting Bigger, more Obnoxious and BOLDER and BOLDER like competing for BEST fiction, and, SCRIMP on FACTS to voters WHO voted for them and, EXPECT MUCH BETTER honesty and governance from Millionaire Bastards.

POFMA is CORRUPTED for it’s REFUSAL to Call Out Ministerial Misinformation AND Disinformation.

If so, will CHT be given a pofma order, stating his initial response was FALSE?

These sycophantic miws are mostly doers, not thinkers type. They can only react and work on hindsight.

Once an unusual crisis or situation occurs, they are blurred as sotong and go helter skelter on what they should to solve or control the problem.

These chaps are clearly not worthy $m salt.

What do you think?

Working overdrive to cover up their lies ,blunders and incompetency as usual.
They put one Ah Beng in charge of environment now the real test is here, he’s running around in all directions trying to quell the situation. Wake up people, not only your livelihood is at stake from the MIW but also our environment.

Just like the well oiled propaganda and self~praising machinery that they are, … are peo~ple remotely and genuinely surprised at how this oil spillage shit show is going !!!

Add to thee above, … a regime whose members that’ll never stand up, hold their hands up and fess up, … es~specially when the shit hits the fan, and es~specially when the shit could be attributed to them, owing to their inefficiency or ineffectiveness !!!

Seriously, what else can be expected of a regime that spits accountability, transparency and honesty, … back into the faces of it’s people !!!

Was this work outsourced without initial steps taken to contain the spill ?If you don’t do your own work you can never fully understand the steps and decisions to take. Is this how the govt. is run? Is there why there are so many lapses in the civil service? An efficiently run govt. will not need months or years to deal with issues like money laundering, Ridout Road, Iswaran’s case etc. The structures placed should show up any misuse of State apparatus. A bloated cabinet does not fit into an efficient and competent govt. structure. It looks like the ruling… Read more »

The Govt Services for public good is under political control and manipulation, the centre of control comprises of many novices green horns in tackling real life events. Are they experts really? One easily doubt.
However they are good in enact laws, to control citizens, to maim, to disable fair discourse, fair debates, prevent obstruct just reporting of frank opinions.
Like huge one, claim and claim about hanging drug traffickers reduce drug problems. Really? Where facts and figures to justify.

If the State Controlled but People Owned newspaper published the truths and full story of PAP Administration’s Millionaire Politicians BLUNDERS – chances ARE this PAP will LOOSE MASSIVELY in the GE.

Fake news churned out day by day by the next day from this FRAUD PAP keep them in office year after year after they enticed voters with candies and chicken wings.

Is this a very very sad SG that depends on 1000s of Foreign Trash to survive and merely exists.

Doesn’t not mean crooks, liars, frauds or wayward people scams.

In SG ONE FINE SUPREME EXAMPLE of scam, A BIG SCAM happening is Political Millionaires Who Incessantly Self Praise SO OFTEN till its 2nd Nature, are the BIGGEST SCAMMERS.

Stupid and Ignorant self proclaim Smart Nation.

Commit tons of mistakes, even when people dying of, from their political mistakes created their self formed No Blame National Culture.

Is it their own no blame culture, or they MAKE Singaporeans as THEIR ACCOMPLICES to ligthe their enormous guilt.

The manner this unfortunate spill is being handled so far speaks volume of the calibre and competence of the 4G leaders which leave much to be desired.

Chee Hong apparently lacks foresight and acumen in managing catastrophic situations, only good in churning out after-the-facts reports.

And he is being paid very good money as compared to 1G leaders.

What’s the hell?

It seems like the port authority does not have its own team to contain the oil spill. In depending on outside contractors the spill has moved to a larger area than should have been as time should have been the essence in this spill.

This oil spillage cannot be explained away. Only lies can.

Lies and frauds are PAP crimes that does pay. Hahaha 😂 😂.
Bcz Millionaire lies, frauds are gold standards – custom made in Unique SG.

A general always reports: “The situation is fully under control!”

Last edited 20 days ago by wee

From daily reports, it seems obvious that there is no SOP to tackle oil spillage. And if there is, either it is manifestly poorly drawn up or someone failed to put in practice what was expected.

Whatever the case maybe, some heads must roll. CHT should stop claiming efforts taken to mitigate the disaster were successful.

It would be interesting to know who was the designated point man who was supposed to set everything in motion.

Could have thrown about 50MPs and another 1,000 supporters from PA/residents committee, all dressed in white… that will soak up about 400 metric tons nicely… no kidding..

If it was failure to contain the spill initially that caused the spill to move to other areas, the person in charge should come out to explain the failure. CHT is not that person.