Thai beach declares disaster area after oil spill

Workers will clean up an oil spill caused by a spill from a submarine pipeline 12.4 miles off the east coast of Thailand on January 29, 2022 at Meerampen Beach, Rayong Province, Thailand. (SoeZeya Tun / Reuters)

Bangkok — The beaches of eastern Thailand were declared a disaster area on Saturday as oil leaked from the underwater pipeline in the Gulf of Thailand continued to drift and blacken the sand.

Leakage from a pipeline owned by Star Petroleum Refining Public Company Limited (SPRC) began late Tuesday and was controlled the day after an estimated 13,209 gallons of oil spilled into the sea 12 miles from the country’s industrialized east coast. I did.

Some of the oil spread to the 18-square-mile sea in the bay and then reached the coastline of Mailampen Beach in Rayong Province late Friday.

The Navy has worked with the SPRC to contain the spill, saying that the major oil lumps are still offshore and only a small amount has been washed away at least two locations along the 12km long beach.

According to the Navy, about 150 SPRC workers and 200 Navy personnel were stationed to clean the beach and installed barriers to the oil boom.

Twelve naval vessels, three civilian vessels, and numerous aircraft also worked to contain the spills at sea with booms and dispersant sprays.

“We and the company are still working at sea to reduce the amount of oil by hunting down spills, sucking up oil and spraying dispersants,” said Deputy Commander of the First Navy Regional Commander. Maj. Gen. Artorn Charapinyo told reporters.

Panu Wonchaum