Oil Spill Off the Coast of Koh Samet, Thailand
Published on Jul 30, 2013
Disaster area declared as authorities fight to keep oil spill away from island's tourist strip
Authorities yesterday feared the entire tourist island of Koh Samet in Rayong would be affected by Saturday's oil spill.
The island's Ao Phrao (Phrao Bay) is being closed for three days to permit a cleanup of spilled crude oil that has washed ashore.
Koh Samet was yesterday declared a marine disaster area, according to Rayong Governor Wichit Chatphaisit, who said action was being taken to prevent the leaked oil from spreading from Ao Phrao to other beaches on the island.
"The spill is definitely having an impact on the environment, but we have not detected any deaths of marine animals yet," he said.
It is expected to take about 15 days to restore the polluted beach of Ao Phrao, according to Sumet Saithong, chief of the Laem Ya Samet Islands National Park.
He said about 500 officials from the Pollution Control Department; Depart-ment of Environment Quality Promotion; petrochemical firm PTT Global Chemical, from whose pipeline the oil leaked; and those sent by the Rayong provincial governor, were cleaning up oil that had washed ashore.
Film from the floating crude oil has spread over eight kilometres west of Ao Phrao, on the western coast of Samet, and about 400 metres into the bay, he said.
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