A BIG effort is underway to protect Koh Samet as the large oil slick is expected to reach the island’s Ao Prao bay tonight, Thai Rath newspaper said this afternoon (Jan.30).
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Mr. Warawut Silpa-archa flew to Rayong on a helicopter at 12.30 p.m. today to inspect the contamination of Mae Ram Phueng beach after oil from an undersea pipeline that leaked 400,000 litres of crude into the sea near Map Ta Phut on Tuesday Jan. 25 started washing up on this beach from dawn yesterday.
Warawut said the direction of wind and waves prevented the oil mass from breaking up and this led to lesser amounts of oil reaching Mae Ram Phueng beach which is a good sign.
However residents and tourists are currently barred from entering this polluted beach.
The minister gave instructions at a meeting to urgently protect Koh Samet’s Ao Prao bay as strong winds are bringing a large oil slick there.
Ao Prao is a concave bay and if the oil washes up the entire beach and shallow corals will be severely damaged.
Officials are doing their best to prevent this from happening and have deployed containment booms as well as skimming boats to combat the slick.
They are monitoring whether the currents will bring the tailend of the slick to Duang Tawan beach at Ban Phe sub-district.
The oil slick washing up on Mae Ram Phueng beach and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Warawut inspecting the damage. Photos: Thai Rath