Marine Link
Sunday, July 14, 2024

Oil Spill Clean-Up Efforts Off Singapore Go Full Steam Ahead

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

June 17, 2024

(Credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore)

(Credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore)

The authorities in Singapore have launched an oil spill clean-up operation after the Netherlands-flagged dredger Vox Maxima struck a stationary Singapore-flagged bunker vessel Marine Honour, causing a rupture of one its oil cargo tanks which released the low-sulphur fuel oil to the sea.

Dredger Vox Maxima had reported a sudden loss in engine and steering control before its allision with bunker vessel Marine Honour on June 14, 2024.

Investigations by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) are ongoing, with the master of the vessel and its crew are currently assisting in investigations.

The allision caused a rupture of one of the Marine Honour’s oil cargo tanks containing low-sulphur fuel oil, which spilled in the sea in southern Singapore.



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 mobilized 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.

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.

As at June 16, 2024, there were no signs of oil slick within Sisters’ Islands Marine Park but oil sheen was observed in the surrounding waters.

National Parks Board (NParks) has also deployed oil absorbent booms to protect Berlayer Creek and the Rocky Shore at Labrador Nature Reserve. While West Coast Park is not affected, oil absorbent booms have also been deployed at West Coast Park to protect the mangroves at the Marsh Garden.

Close to 1500 meters of containment booms have been progressively deployed since last Friday, at various locations including the three beaches at Sentosa, entrance of Keppel Marina, off Labrador Nature Reserve, East Coast Park and West Coast Park, according to MPA.

Another 1600 meters of booms will be laid over the next few days to prevent further spread of oil onto the shore. Use of dispersants can help to break down the surface oil into droplets to enhance biodegradation. For treated oil with dispersants, these may be suspended in the water and be carried by tidal currents to coastlines.

Oil recovery efforts at sea are progressing. 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. It consists of a boom with a skirt that extends below the water surface to corral and concentrate the oil on the water surface.

OSRL’s capabilities will be in addition to two skimmer craft deployed. The skimmer craft is a specialized vessel equipped with skimming equipment to skim and “lift” the oil off the water surface into storage tanks.

No oil slick has been reported in the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) of the Singapore Strait. Navigation traffic in the TSS and port operations remain unaffected.

Ashore, the National Environment Agency (NEA), NParks and Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) have deployed a total of over 250 personnel, including more than 50 professional workers from OSRL, 50 NParks officers, cleaners and other officers to support the beach and shoreline clean-up efforts.

NParks has received overwhelming response from members of the public to help out with over 1,500 sign-ups and will activate volunteers if more help is needed. For their safety, volunteers will not be deployed for shoreline clean-up.

“While we have not observed oil spillage impact at West Coast Park, volunteers have also been deployed to monitor the situation at West Coast Park for early alert. Currently, volunteers have also been activated to patrol the beach areas at East Coast Park tomorrow and we advise members of the public to stay away from the affected oil spill sites. Volunteers at both parks can further assist with info sharing and reporting on affected wildlife and areas,” MPA said.

MPA added is working with British Marine, the insurer of the stationary tanker, Marine Honour, to set up thrid party claims contact to attend to affected parties who have been impacted.