6 June 2024

Patches of a thin film of oil were detected this morning (Friday) about three nautical miles in front of the Map Ta Phut seaport of Star Petroleum Refining (SPRC) as fears grow that they may reach Mae Ram Phueng and Laem Roongruang beaches, according to officials at the Pollution Control Department.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed concern over the latest oil spill in the sea off the eastern province of Rayong yesterday and has instructed all relevant agencies to take immediate steps to contain the spill, said Deputy Transport Minister Atirat Ratanasate today.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa is due to meet with Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit this afternoon to discuss how their two ministries can cooperate to tackle the spill.

Atirat said that, the day after the first oil spill, which occurred at the mooring platform of SPRC on January 25th, the Harbour Department ordered the platform to be shut down.

This time, he said the spill took place at the same location, as residual oil in the flexible pipeline leaked out when workers raised it for maintenance.

He said the Marine Department has ordered SPRC to contain the oil, in coordination with state agencies. The spill is categorised as a “Tier 1” event, which means that less than 20 tonnes of crude oil leaked into the sea.

After the first spill, he said the Marine Department lodged complaints against SPRC with the local police and ordered the company to contain the oil in the sea and to clean up any slicks which washed ashore. Another complaint over the company’s violation of the ban on the use of the pipeline has been filed following yesterday’s spill.

As far as the Marine Department is concerned, the deputy minister said he had instructed them to send officials to inspect the pipeline at the mooring platform, to make sure that the problem has been fixed.