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Chee Hong Tat: Booms deployed around damaged vessel not meant to fence in spilled oil

In response to queries about the initial omission of information regarding the oil spill’s potential spread, Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat emphasized that their immediate priority on 14 June was preventing further leakage from the damaged vessel. He highlighted the time-consuming deployment of containment booms, emphasizing that their purpose was preventive rather than to confine spilled oil.



SINGAPORE: Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat explained that deploying containment booms after the Pasir Panjang Terminal allision incident was time-consuming. He clarified that these booms were not meant to “fence in” the spilt oil but rather served as a preventive measure against any further spillage from the damaged vessel.

During a press conference on 24 June, a reporter asked the minister why there was no initial information in the first press release on 14 June about the possible spread of the oil, which led to some surprise among the public when oil washed ashore later.

The media also queried the Minister whether there is room for improvement in the deployment time of containment booms during such oil spills, given the critical need for a quick response.

The oil spill occurred after a Netherlands-flagged dredger struck the Singapore-flagged bunker vessel Marine Honour on 14 June, causing oil from the latter’s damaged cargo tank to spill into the water.

In response, Mr Chee defended the response times of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and its contractor, T&T Salvage Asia, stating that they adhere to international industry standards.

He emphasized that upon discovering the oil spill, the immediate priority was to prevent further leakage from Marine Honour.

This involved ensuring the vessel’s stability and safety, securing the crew, and halting any ongoing oil release from the damaged tank.

“Because if you have oil that continues to come out in large amounts from the vessel, I think that will make the situation even worse. ”

He emphasized the urgency of promptly applying dispersants to prevent the oil from hardening, which would complicate cleanup efforts both at sea and on land.

The first MPA patrol craft arrived 11 minutes after the incident at 2:33 pm to spray dispersants in the water.

Following the initial response operations, at 2:55 pm, MPA contacted T&T Salvage Asia to deploy containment booms around the damaged bunker vessel.

Mr Chee said the team from T&T Salvage required several hours to load the heavy equipment and additional time to sail to the site. Their boat arrived at the site at 9:41 pm.

They completed laying 200m of booms around Marine Honour at 5.15 am on 15 June – nearly 15 hours after the incident.

He explained that the deployment process can be time-consuming due to various factors such as weather conditions (daytime versus nighttime operations) and the logistical challenge of handling a spill of this scale.

“Deploying the containment boom around the damaged vessel will take several hours, including the time for the vessel to arrive at the incident site and the time taken to fully deploy the booms,” said Mr Chee.

“During this time, we must expect a significant amount of the oil that has been spilt into the sea to be carried by tidal currents and waves to other locations away from the incident site. This is unavoidable, especially during more serious oil spill incidents, like what we experienced on 14 June.”

Mr Chee added that while containment booms can capture some oil near the incident site, they are not foolproof against tidal movements which can carry oil both below and above the booms.

Responding to questions about placing preventive booms across all of Singapore’s coastlines, Mr Chee stated it is impractical due to logistical constraints.

Deploying booms along the entire southern coastline, from Pasir Panjang to East Coast, would require over 46km of booms.

Mr Chee noted that booms require regular maintenance and replacement due to weather and wave impacts, including potential snapping.

In total, over 3,400m of booms were deployed to contain trapped oil and prevent it from re-entering the sea or reaching inland canals in Singapore.

For example, on 17 June, 1,500m of booms were set up at three beaches on Sentosa Island, Keppel Marina entrance, Labrador Nature Reserve, East Coast Park, and West Coast Park. An additional 1,600m of booms were deployed on 18 June at various beaches on Sentosa, Labrador Nature Reserve, and the Southern Islands.

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Please lah CHT, not meant to fence the oil spill? Then for what the booms are there? 100 mtr freestyle or butterfly stroke? Your answers are as pathetic as rotten wood. The booms sole job is to contain the spill and prevent spreading. It’s like saying throwing a drowning person a life ring isn’t meant to keep the person afloat. What an inbred..

The port authority contained the spill and sprayed dispersant. They then waited for deployment from T&T salvage. This means that the port authority does not have its own “emergency team, ” to deploy the booms and are reliant on an outside contractor. What would have happened if T&T salvage could not take up the job because of prior commitments? We have a mega port in Jurong, shouldn’t we be better prepared for oil spills? Obviously there has been no research or implementation of new technology in dealing with oil spills. There is sponge technology. There is the Bolina Harbour Booms.… Read more »

It appears from the video that questions from sh*t media were given ahead to chee and gsng, not done impromptu.

Chee didn’t need to reflect on the questions but straightaway answered and read from the prepared script.

What do you think?

A failure is a failure no matter how much explanations or excuses he can give. Can’t imagine the environmental damage if it actually happens to what they claimed they had trained for during previous exercise. The environmental damage may be 30 times worse than this if we extrapolate the release qty. Just wondering whether their actions is taken one after another or concurrently? The prevention of further oil coming out and vessel stability should lies with the crews and vessel owner. If the oil booms is not for fencing in the oil don’t tell me it is to prevent the… Read more »

, ……. and as for this Dick, who continues to defend his statements and decisions, followed by more deflections and denials of mis~steps and/or an almighty f**k up as it’s turning out to be, … is but another illustration of the kind of devious and defiant character this nation has faith and trust in !!! As for the press conference, … what kind of shit journalist would pose a question that has ample “wriggle room” in it like, … “whether there is room for improvement ……….” !!! Seriously, what more can one say about these ministers and the nation’s media/journalists,… Read more »

Covid19 cases remains “elevated” , ICU cases up…urging sgs to go for updated covid vaccinations.
OYK/MOH blame it on people returning from overseas.
So hes saying where ever SGs travelled to had a covid19 spread and our ppl caught it from there?
So shouldnt our sgov restrict tourism and unneccessary inbound intl travellers for some time?
We dont want to go thro like the last time, do we?
Enough Is Enough of playing with our lives!
As usual paid mil$ salaries to TCSS.

Last edited 17 days ago by W.A.J.

Wow! One oil spill needs a $multi million trio of 3 musketeers, chee hong kia, Demon and disGrace, to handle the situation.

If a natural catastrophe occurs or war breaks out, the whole cupboard of miws will be involved.

No single person is in charge, so cannot pinpoint any blame on anyone for incompetence or failure.

All continue to laugh their way to the banks. Life is good for miws.

Dispersants are to prevent oil from hardening? Are you SURE? Very VERY SURE? If so, it would have been called “softener” right? The better strategy to respond to oil spills is to corral the spilt oil with booms and then to pump the oily sea water into tanks where the oil can be separated from the seawater and recovered as usable oil again.

Million Dollars clowns 🤡 aplenty, now in full public display, no fees involved, free entertainment – in a way much thrilling and exciting than Miss Taylor Swift.

So the blooms were deployed just for show only or is it CHT knows nothing about oil spill?

Do they not have oil dispersal surfactant to fight oil spill or knowledge of this to fight oil in the water?

“Because if you have oil that continues to come out in large amounts from the vessel, I think that will make the situation even worse. ”

Comment: such a brilliant observation! No wonder he got promoted.

Real, Real Comment: That’s the kind of useless statement our ministers love to make. I am sure even a primary school student would be able to conclude that a continuous spillage of the oil into the sea will lead to the situation degenerating with dire consequences.

The thing is that CHT probably thought he was dispensing pearls of wisdom when he uttered that statement.

“International standards”…
Great.. use the “international standards” when it is convenient.

But use PAP’s standards for everything else such as POFMA, defamation, minimum wage, poverty levels, 5 mayors, GRCs,

Just mark X below their box.

If he keep fishes in an aquarium as a hobby at home, I don’t believe he is able to clean up his aquarium.