Oil spill disaster in Singapore

Facebook photo by Joseph Chun

Facebook photo by Joseph Chun

Last week a Malaysian-registered tanker collided with a bulk carrier in the Singapore Strait causing some 2,000 tonnes of crude oil to spill into the sea. The oil slick has affected the marine life in the coastal areas of Singapore.

A facebook page was created – Singapore Changi East Oil Spill – to monitor and document the disaster and to call for volunteers in the cleanup drive. Lim Wei Ling posts this status update on her facebook page about what she witnessed in one of the affected beaches of Singapore

Was at Tanah Merah with a friend yesterday. The impact area is actually quite large. Also, some globules of oil have already sunken and rolling on the sea floor. Marine creatures there were lethargic due to the lack of oxygen in the waters. Dead and struggling creatures were also seen…sad. However, we saw plenty of sand stars…they seem to beholding up better =)

Musings from the Lion City thought the “strange smell” in Singapore last week came from a forest fire

Yesterday at around 1pm, I smelled something strange. It smelled like something between drying paint and something burning. Since it was a very hot day yesterday, I thought it was a forest fire somewhere.

With our busy waterways and all the ships docked at our ports due to the economic slowdown, I fear this may not be the last time I smell this.

Wild Shores of Singapore asks netizens to document the threatened marine life of Singapore

A sense of deep helpless outrage is what I feel as the oil spill affects the marinelife on our shores. I just heard that the spill has hit Chek Jawa as well as Changi beach between Carpark 6 and Carpark 7.

It's impossible to save all the creatures. What should a shore lover do about the situation?

It is wonderful to see large numbers of volunteers wanting to do something about the situation.

But ‘cleaning’ sea creatures is almost impossible to do without stressing them. And once the oil clogs gills, the animals are probably doomed even if the oil is cleaned off externally. And if we want to ‘clean’ marine life, we need to use seawater.

The most beautiful and delicate of marine creatures are impossible to wash or relocate quickly: hard corals, sea anemones, sea fans. Some animals that don't seem worthy of ‘saving’ such as worms, are actually among the important elements of the shore ecosystem, forming the base of the food chain.

So what is a shore lover to do?

In my opinion, we should document as much as we can. Focusing not just on the distress and death to marine life, but also the amazing diversity life on our shores (from worms to fishes, corals to seagrass) and how the spill is affecting them.

Colourful Clouds took pictures of dead marine creatures in the affected coastal areas

As we reached the shore, the pungent gas fumes fill the air! Making it a bit hard to breathe. I came prepared with a mask and tied a piece of towel around. It was much better but still a fade amount of the fumes can be smelled!

On the high shores, we see signs of the oil stains on the sand.

Sigh…..it is just heartbreaking seeing so many dead marine creatures! Hopefully the oil spill can be cleared soon and that the shores can recover once again!

KCK reports that the oil sludge has reached the shores of Singapore

The oil spill has apparently hit our shores despite earlier comments that it might vaporise before reaching land. The argument was being a light crude, the spill could vaporise easily

Pictures of the disaster are available on Facebook, the Flickr page of il_mare77, Wild Shores, and Mantamola. Oil spill disasters in the Singapore Strait also took place in 1997, 2000, 2004. Maybe marine authorities have to answer what blogger Singapore Life and Times is asking

…what were the people manning the sea traffic doing, or more more pertinently, NOT doing to prevent this collision? Like the people manning the Control Tower in an airport, the people manning the seaport have just as heavy a responsibility to make sure things like this do not happen.

Twitter reactions from Singapore about the oil spill

beermanDD: Went to see the beach at east coast and its full of crude oil..
dekick: RT @stcom Fewer people are flocking to the beach despite the long weekend because of the oil spill
watzzup80: A beautiful day to be at the beach, sadly its fill with oil..sigh
earthyelement: wonder if there are any threats to the sea habitats for the recent oil spills..

Facebook photo by Hang Chong


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