Singapore Closes Sentosa Island Beaches Due To Oil Spill

An oil spill has polluted part of Singapore's southern coastline, including the resort island of Sentosa, after a dredger boat hit a stationary cargo tanker
Singapore Closes Sentosa Island Beaches Due To Oil Spill
Maksym Kozlenko/Wiki Commons

Some concerning news has recently emerged about the pristine coastline of an island in Singapore. Oil has been spotted along the coast of several beaches, including those on Sentosa island and in East Coast Park, following an incident where a dredger struck a bunker vessel at Pasir Panjang Terminal. Reports indicate that the beachfront at East Coast Park, from area B to H, will be closed until further notice to allow for cleanup efforts, as announced by the authorities on Saturday evening (Jun 15). The oil spill took place at the outset of the Hari Raya Haji long weekend, a time when both locals and tourists were set to gather at Sentosa and other popular attractions.

There are concerns about the potential threat to marine wildlife, as a clean-up operation takes place. Sentosa Island is a popular resort island located just off the coast of Singapore. The island is home to various attractions, including Universal Studios Singapore, golf courses, a stunning cable car ride, and a range of beach activities. Many luxury hotels, restaurants and shops are located on the island.

The southern coastline of Singapore has been affected by the oil spill resulting from a dredger boat colliding with a stationary cargo tanker. The Netherlands-flagged dredger Vox Maxima struck the Singaporean fuel supply ship Marine Honor, causing damage to the cargo tank and resulting in an oil leak into the sea. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore stated that the oil leak has been contained and the escaped oil has been treated with dispersants. The Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) has intensified its beach cleaning efforts to restore the affected shores in the aftermath of the oil spill.

The spill has caused significant environmental damage, impacting non-human life along the coast. The extent of the damage is still uncertain, but the local conservation group, Marine Stewards, shared photos of oil-soaked birds and shorelines on its Facebook page, highlighting the severity of the impact. Almost 1,400 people have signed up as volunteers to help in clean-up operations following the oil spill.

Waterbirds affected by the oil spill
Waterbirds affected by the oil spill Lester Tan/Marine Stewards/Facebook

Following the oil spill, access to Sentosa's beaches remains open, but swimming and water activities are prohibited at Tanjong, Palawan, and Siloso beaches. Additionally, the outlying islands of St. John's, Lazarus, and Kusu have been closed off due to the spread of the slick. These islands are popular destinations for day trippers via ferries and yacht charters. This announcement was jointly made by the National Parks Board, scientists, and volunteers from Friends of Marine Park. As clean-up efforts are underway, some organisations are investigating the terrible impact of the petrochemical spill on Singapore’s environment and wildlife. Listen to a podcast here.

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