Collision causes oil spill in Singapore

May 25, 2010 12:00 am

, SINGAPORE, May 25 – Emergency teams scrambled to contain some 2,000 tonnes of crude oil that leaked Tuesday into the Singapore Strait after two vessels collided in the busy waterway, port officials said.

Singapore\’s Maritime and Port Authority said the Malaysian-registered tanker MT Bunga Kelana 3 had collided with the MV Waily, a bulk carrier registered in St Vincent and the Grenadines, damaging a cargo tank on the Malaysian vessel.

Four patrol and emergency response vessels and three private craft equipped with oil-spill equipment had been sent to the area, it said, adding: "Work is ongoing to contain and clean up the oil spill."

Nobody was injured and shipping traffic was not affected by the incident, which took place 13 kilometres (eight miles) off Singapore shortly before dawn, the MPA said. Both vessels were at anchor after the incident and neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia had been kept informed.

Malaysia\’s Maritime Enforcement Agency told AFP the collision had torn a 10-metre (33-foot) gash in the tanker\’s port side.

The tanker\’s operators, Malaysia-based AET, said in a statement: "Oil booms are being placed around the leaked cargo to contain the spill."

It said the ship had been "hit by the bow of the other vessel as Bunga Kelana 3 was travelling from east to west in the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) of the Singapore Strait."

The TSS is a commercial channel running along the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

Salvage operators interviewed by AFP said the spill could potentially be damaging for the environment but the authorities\’ swift response would significantly lessen the impact.

"I think it can be controlled. 2,000 tons will not do as much damage if the teams are already there," a salvage operator who did not want to be named said.


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