Patches of a thin film of oil were found this morning (Saturday) on Mae Ram Phueng beach and oil slicks have been detected floating in the sea near the beach.

An oil sheen has also been spotted at the PTTLNG port, also in the Muang district of the eastern province of Rayong.

Workers from Star Petroleum Refining (SPRC), the company responsible for two oil spills in the past three weeks, have been deployed to collect the oil film being washed ashore by using oil absorbents. Foam booms have also been installed at different points on the beaches and more vessels have put to sea in an effort to contain the oil before it is washed ashore.

Oil found on Mae Ram Phueng beach and at sea as containment of the spill continues

One SPRC worker told Thai PBS reporters at Mae Ram Phueng beach that he and his colleagues are having to walk back and forth along the beach, using oil the absorbent materials.

Sailors from the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) and SPRC staff have been deployed this afternoon to use foam booms at Laem Roongruang, in Paknam sub-district, to soak up oil film found floating in the sea close to the beach.

About 5,000 litres of crude oil, left in a flexible pipeline, are reported to have leaked into the sea from SPRC’s mooring platform as workers tried to lift the pipe out of the water for repairs.

Oil found on Mae Ram Phueng beach and at sea as containment of the spill continues

It is the same place where, nearly three weeks ago, about 47,000 litres of crude oil leaked into the sea off Rayong, triggering a major containment operation involving the RTN, the Pollution Control Department, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and SPRC. There was also a clean-up operation on Mae Ram Phueng beach, where some of the oil washed ashore, affecting tourism and businesses after the area was declared a public disaster zone by the Rayong provincial administration.

Samet Island, a popular tourist destination, luckily escaped the worst of the oil, but the long-term effects on the marineenvironment, corals in particular, remain under scrutiny as it may take some time before the effects emerge.