Oil spill response underway following vessel allision in Singapore

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Singapore has closed several beaches after spotting an oil sheen caused by an allision between two vessels at Pasir Panjang Terminal.

An oil spill response operation is underway following an allision between two vessels at Singapore’s Pasir Panjang Terminal.

The incident occurred on June 14 and involved the Netherlands-flagged dredger Vox Maxima and the Singapore-flagged bunker vessel Marine Honour, which was alongside a container vessel berthed at the terminal.

Both vessels were anchored and are in stable condition, with some damage reported above the waterline. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said that no injuries were reported.

“There is no impact to navigational safety and berthing operations at PSA remain unaffected,” MPA said on June 14.

Initial findings into the incident indicate that the dredger had reported a sudden loss in engine and steering control before its allision with the bunker vessel.

MPA is investigating the incident, with the vessel’s master and crew actively assisting in the process.

The allision caused a rupture of one of the cargo tanks on board the Marine Honour and its contents of low-sulphur fuel oil were released to the sea. The affected cargo tank has been isolated, and the spill has been contained, MPA said.

MPA, PSA and the bunker vessel company have deployed oil spill response craft to the location. Booms were also laid around the vessels thereafter as an added precaution in case of further leaks from the vessel. Due to the tidal currents, parts of the oil spillage have landed along the southern shorelines including Sentosa, Labrador Nature Reserve, Southern Islands, Marina South Pier, and East Coast Park.

An oil sheen observed in the surrounding waters has prompted the closure of several beaches until further notice to facilitate cleanup efforts.

Beaches at East Coast Park (from Area B to H), Labrador Nature Reserve (Jetty and Rocky Shore), and Sentosa remain open for public access, but sea activities and swimming are prohibited at Tanjong, Palawan, and Siloso Beach. Additionally, beaches at St John’s, Lazarus, and Kusu Islands are also closed.

In its latest update, the Singapore port authority noted that 1500 metres of booms have been deployed, with an additional 1600 metres scheduled to be deployed over the next few days in designated sites to support the containment of accumulated oil to facilitate the clean-up operation off the beaches and shorelines. Additional booms are planned to be deployed as a preventive measure off Changi East.

According to MPA, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has conducted daily air quality tests at Sentosa, East Coast Park, and Labrador Nature Reserve since 15 June to ensure safety during cleanup operations, monitoring VOC levels such as Benzene, Toluene, and Xylene. Current air quality remains safe, and a precautionary advisory against swimming and primary water activities is in effect for Changi Beach, similar to Pasir Ris and Sembawang due to earlier bacteria concerns.

The incident in Singapore is being reported on the heels of the completion of oil spill clean-up operations at Deurganck dock in the Port of Antwerp. The port authority said on June 7 that an oil leak was discovered at the dock following a bunker operation. Around 20 ships, including sea vessels and barges, were polluted in Deurganckdock, with oil detected in the fairway and on the quay walls, but not in the Scheldt river. Contaminated ships were unable to leave the port until cleaned.

A selective traffic ban was enforced for Deurganckdock, with traffic diverted where possible. Despite ship delays, terminals remained operational but experienced significant disruption.

After an extensive clean-up operation, the quay walls were fully available again on June 18, when the selective ban on navigation in the Deurganckdok was lifted.

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