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Malaysia’s Johor starts coastal cleanup following reported spread from Singapore oil spill

Malaysia’s Johor starts coastal cleanup following reported spread from Singapore oil spill
Malaysia’s Johor starts coastal cleanup following reported spread from Singapore oil spill

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SINGAPORE: Johor has started coastal clean-ups and activated coastal patrols and monitoring activities in Kota Tinggi district following an oil spill in Singapore last week that released around 400 tonnes of fuel into the sea. 

Clean-ups began on Friday (Jun 21) morning at two beaches, Sungai Rengit and Teluk Ramunia, said state health and environment committee chairman Ling Tian Soon in a Facebook post.

Earlier, he said related agencies will continue monitoring pollution from the incident at the waters off Pengerang from time to time, news outlet Malay Mail reported.

Sungai Rengit and Pengerang are sited east of Changi, tens of kilometres from areas in Singapore such as East Coast Park and the beaches of Tanah Merah that have been affected by the oil spill. 

The spill was caused by a Netherlands-flagged dredger, Vox Maxima, hitting and rupturing one of the oil cargo tanks of Singapore-flagged bunker vessel Marine Honour at the Pasir Panjang Container Terminal (PPT) on Jun 14.

Mr Ling said that his department received information from Singapore’s National Environment Agency regarding the oil spill at 8.30am on Tuesday, according to news outlet Malay Mail.

He added that the next day at around 9.30am, Johor’s Department of Environment also received information from the Pengerang Municipal Council that there was oil pollution on Kota Tinggi’s Sungai Rengit beach.

A Facebook post by Mr Ling on Friday said that there were beach clean-ups taking place at Sungai Rengit and Ramunia.

Johor officials have gone on-site to check certain areas affected by the oil spill. On Wednesday, Tanjung Surat assemblyman Aznan Tamin posted photos on Facebook of an inspection conducted with Kota Tinggi district officer Ahmad Nazir Mohd Nasir and state environment department director Mohd Famey Yusoff. 

Mr Aznan, who is also Johor education and information committee chairman, added that a special meeting would be held on Thursday to “determine intervention actions that need to be taken to avoid the situation from getting worse”. 

The oil spill affected Singapore’s shorelines at Sentosa, Labrador Nature Reserve, East Coast Park, and St John’s, Lazarus and Kusu islands, among other areas.

Several beaches in Singapore have been largely cleared of oil, but Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat said on Thursday it will take “some time” before the oil is completely removed.

Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority has said it will seek compensation for costs incurred from the spill from the owners of Marine Honour, which has insurance coverage to meet the liability.

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