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31 May 2010

Oil slick from Singapore reaches Malaysian waters

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An oil slick that closed public beaches on Singapore's eastern coastline has been mostly contained but patches have drifted into Malaysian waters, AFP quoted officials as saying.

"Efforts to contain and clean up the oil spill have been positive," the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said in its latest press release, issued Sunday evening.

"As of this afternoon, no oil slick was reported in the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) off Changi East or within the anchorages of Singapores port waters," the MPA added.

However, oil from the slick had been spotted in Malaysian waters, it said, without giving details about the size of the slick.

"Further patches of oil slick were observed today in Malaysian waters and in the TSS to the east of Singapore by passing ships and aircraft," the MPA said.

"MPA has informed our Malaysian counterparts of the observations and have offered our assistance," MPA said.

On Saturday, the MPA said that oil had been sighted off Tanjong Pengelih, in southern Malaysia, and east of Singapore's Changi Beach.

No "significant patches" have been observed off Changi itself or within Singapore's port waters, the MPA said.

The spill came from the Malaysian-registered tanker MT Bunga Kelana 3, which was carrying nearly 62,000 tonnes of crude when it collided off Singapore Tuesday with the MV Waily, a bulk carrier registered in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

About 2,500 tonnes of crude leaked from a gash in the double-hulled tanker but most of it was contained at sea, according to the MPA.

Singapore's National Environment Agency (NEA) said in its latest update that emergency crews had cleaned up oil at two beaches on the city state's eastern coastline.

"East Coast Beach and Changi Beach have been cleared of oil stains. No oil patches are visible at sea from the two beaches," it said in a press statement issued Sunday evening.

The beaches, closed since Thursday, would remain off-limits to the public, pending checks on the water quality, the NEA said.

The agency added that cleaning efforts at the vulnerable natural reserve at Chek Jawa was also almost complete.

"At Chek Jawa, 98 percent of cleaning is complete. Only small patches of oil film are visible on the water surface," the agency said.


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