Thursday, 1 August 2013

Update on the oil spill in the Gulf of Thailand

It's time for an update on the oil spill in the Gulf of Thailand, that saw crude oil on Ao Phrao beach on Koh Samed. The previous two posts on my blog can be found here and here.

Clen up action on Koh Samed

Clean up under way at Ao Phrao on Koh Samed

In general it's good to see that many independent parties are very wary of the official lines, experts scoff at PPTCG's response and it's also reported that the spill may be bigger than it looks and the recovery will be tough. The Public is warned of air pollution caused by the Rayong oil spill.

All not great news, although;
The Energy Ministry promises to complete its investigation into the cause of the disastrous offshore oil spill within seven days and to ensure full compensation by PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC).

"The situation is under control now as no oil stain is found on the waters off Koh Samet," Energy Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisa said yesterday. 

Anon Sirisangtaksin, CEO of PTTGC, promised Ao Phrao would be cleaned up within seven days.
The use of the dispersant called Slickgone NS would not threaten marine life, he said. 
About 35,000 litres of the chemical have been sprayed on the oil slick in the past days, prompting concern among environmentalists.

Partly cleaned beach on Koh Samed

Partly cleaned beach on Koh Samed

The TAT has joined the party now as well, and in their everlasting optimism, they have released a fact sheet. This is one of the things they claim as a fact;
"The rapid deployment of roughly 500 personnel of the Petroleum Authority of Thailand, navy personnel and volunteers has facilitated a rapid clean up effort. Only about 10% of the original oil spill remains in Ao Phrao. It is expected to take about 1-2 days to the remove the sludge."

I can only hope that they're right but somehow I doubt it.

Aerial view of oil spill

An aerial view of oil spill as of today

Satellite image by Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), as of 1 August 2013, 06.09 hrs
The image shows the area of the oil film is concentrated on the north side of the Samet Island (Ko Samet) and shrinking. There is no impact on nearby islands such as Plateen Island, Kham Island and Kudee Island. In addition, the density of the oil film is thinning considerably as the image shows the water color clearly appearing on the surface.

Good news in fact is that only Ao Phrao was affected by the oil slick. The rest of Koh Samed is normal. Swimming is possible in the waters including at Had Sai Kaew (Crystal Sand Beach), Ao Wong Duean, Ao Phai, Ao Kio and Ao Karang all of which are located on the east part of Koh Samed. The whole Eastern side of the island is totally unaffected.

Coral near Koh Samed

Coral near Koh Samed, clearly visible is a black layer on top

Ther has now also been Thai marine divers who dived near Koh Samed and they spotted black layers on coral and in the sand. I wrote about this on my dive blog, so please follow the appropriate link.

Protect the Samui archipelago
Protect the Samui archipelago logo, guess the logo speaks for itself!

The oil spill is not 100% contained yet, it seems and the long term effects is something we probably can only find out in 10 or 20 years down the line. Let's hope that this environmental disaster will not have too much an impact on nature and the tourist industry in the affected areas and for Thailand in general.

Don't forget to use my Camille's Samui hotel recommendation blog and my Camille's Thailand hotel recommendation blog for all your hotel bookings on Koh Samui and around Thailand. By doing so, you will support my blog. Thanks folks!


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