BANGKOK, (AP) — Saturday’s declaration of a state emergency by the governor of a province of eastern Thailand following an oil slick that washed up on a sandy beach. This setback to the tourism industry has caused a disruption.
An estimated 20-50 tons of oil leaked into the Gulf of Thailand Tuesday night from an undersea pipe used to load tankers at an off-shore mooring point owned and operated by Star Petroleum Refining Co.
The company stated that the leak was stopped within hours. However, efforts to prevent an oil slick reaching Mae Ramphueng beach, Rayong province southeast Bangkok, were in vain. On Saturday, oil started to seep onto the sand.
The majority of the slick is still at sea, and there are fears it could hit Koh Samet. This popular tourist island is just beginning to recover from the coronavirus slump.
Aircraft have used chemicals to disperse oil and floating booms to trap it, so it can be removed from the surface.
Rayong Gov. Channa Iamsaeng declared Saturday the beach in crisis and closed it to swimmers and other commercial activity.
Star Petroleum had 150 personnel from Star Petroleum and 200 Navy personnel. Two backhoes were used to dig a trench to capture any oil coming in.
Tourists are a major source of income for the beachside. The area has been economically affected by the pandemic, which has prevented tourists from coming to the area. It will be even more difficult to recover after the spillage. The pollution also had a negative impact on the local fishing industry.
According to Greenpeace’s Thai chapter, the Star Petroleum spillage was the second after 1997’s incident.
It demanded that the oil company be held accountable for the accident, pay for cleanup costs, and provide a comprehensive report on the economic and social impacts of the spillage.