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Oil spill in Singapore after Van Oord dredger hits bunker tanker Marine Honour

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SINGAPORE : Singapore’s Port Authorities are racing to clear up a serious oil slick after a Van Oord dredger hit a bunker tanker near Pasir Panjang Container Terminal along the city-state’s west coast on 14 June.

The allision damaged the cargo tank of the bunker tanker, Marine Honour, which is owned by local physical supplier Straits Bunkering. S&P Global’s vessel-tracking data shows that at the time, Marine Honour was fuelling one of Evergreen Marine Corporation’s ships, the 2,867 TEU Ever Blink.

Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said on 16 June that the dredger, Vox Maxima, reported a sudden loss in engine and steering control before its allision with Marine Honour.

MPA stated, “The allision caused a rupture of one of the Marine Honour’s oil cargo tanks, and its contents of low-sulphur fuel oil were released to the sea. MPA patrol craft were immediately activated and deployed to spray dispersants on the spill. MPA’s oil spill response contractor was also activated, and they mobilised an oil skimmer to reduce the impact of the spill. Booms were also laid around the vessels thereafter as added precaution in case of further leaks from the vessel.”

The affected cargo tank in Marine Honour has been isolated and the spill contained, while no one was injured.

Due to the tidal currents, parts of the oil spillage have landed along the southern shorelines including Sentosa, Labrador Nature Reserve, Southern Islands, Marina South Pier, and East Coast Park. Beaches near these areas have had to be closed to facilitate the clean-up operation.

There are no signs of oil slick within Sisters’ Islands (part of the Southern Islands) Marine Park but oil sheen was observed in the surrounding waters.

National Parks Board has also deployed 1.5km of booms to protect Berlayer Creek and the Rocky Shore at Labrador Nature Reserve.

Another 1.6km of booms will be laid over the next few days to prevent further spread of oil onto the shore. The booms are less effective when there are higher waves above 0.5 metres. Dispersants can help to break down the surface oil into droplets to enhance biodegradation. These oil droplets may be suspended in the water and be carried by tidal currents to coastlines.

MPA stressed that vessel navigation and port operations remain unaffected by the clean-up.

Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL), the largest international industry-funded cooperative providing oil spill response services, is supporting the clean-up efforts. OSRL will deploy two current buster systems, which are floating containment and recovery devices deployed from a vessel.

MPA is working with British Marine, the insurer of Marine Honour, to set up a contact for affected parties to make claims. The authority is investigating the accident and the master of the vessel and its crew are assisting in investigations.

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