The Extent of the Spill
At least three tonnes of oil, suspected to have originated from a ship, have been removed from Sirinan National Park and Koh Racha Yai after washing ashore. The oil spill is believed to have started in neighboring Phangnga province last Wednesday before reaching Koh Racha Yai in Phuket on Sunday.
Collaborative Clean-up Efforts
Pornsri Suthanaruk, deputy director-general of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, recently met with maritime and coastal ecosystem experts, the director of the Marine and Coastal Resources Research Centre, Upper Andaman Sea branch, and Phuket deputy governor Amnuay Pinsuwan to discuss clean-up measures. According to Ms. Pornsri, about two tonnes of oil have been collected at Sirinat National Park and one tonne at Koh Racha Yai in Phuket.
Environmental Impact Assessment
The environmental impact of the oil spill is being assessed, as it poses a threat to 4,000 rai of undersea coral extending from Phangnga to Phuket. Officials are examining sea areas and marine creatures affected by the slick, while working diligently to remove as much oil as possible, preventing it from seeping into the sand and creating a long-term hazard to shellfish.
Affected Marine Life
The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources has revealed that four sea turtles died as a result of the slick. Oil found in their stomachs suggests it had come from a tanker or cargo ship. The department has also warned tourists against swimming and venturing on contaminated beaches, urging them to alert authorities to any oil they come across.
Identifying the Source
To establish the slick’s source, the department conducted a simulation of sea currents and wind speed over the past 10 days. The test results indicated that the spill might have occurred about 90 nautical miles east of Phuket. Ms. Pornsri stated that the Phuket provincial office had information that might prove useful in identifying the vessel responsible for the spill, using ship movement data compiled by the Marine Department.