11 July 2024

Calls have been increasing, from businesses and the public in the Mar Ram Phueng beach area in the eastern province of Rayong, for the authorities to suspend the operating license of Star Petroleum Refining Plc (SPRC) as more black globules, believed to be partially dissolved oil, were discovered on Mar Ram Phueng beach last evening (Friday).

Since the company has been unable to contain the oil spill or fix the ruptured submarine pipeline, those affected say it should have been shut down, so their businesses can resume.

Sonthi Kochawat, an environmental expert, said today that the Marine Department has the authority to suspend the company’s operations, citing the Marine Navigation Act, as he warned that officials at the department may face charges of malfeasance in office if they do not strictly enforce the law to mitigate the problem caused by the recent oil spills.

Meanwhile, the Marine Department’s branch office in Rayong has not yet granted permission for SPRC to access to the mooring platform, to repair the second rupture found in the oil pipeline, while awaiting more details about the planned work from the oil company and consultations with the Pollution Control Department and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.

Yesterday, black globules were found thinly scattered along Mae Ram Phueng beach, over a distance of about 500 metres. They were collected for disposal, with some being sent for analysis.