Hundreds of volunteers responded to the minister

Around 1,400 people signed up as volunteers in the clean-up drive following the oil spill which struck Singapore shores on June 15. Hailing the volunteers, National Development Minister Desmond Lee shared the number in a Facebook post on June 16.

Hundreds of volunteers responded to the minister’s call on Facebook. Photo courtesy: www.facebook.com/desmondtslee

“We are grateful for the overwhelming response. As of 12pm today, almost 1,400 people have signed up to help,” part of Minister Lee’s post read.

“While we may not be able to activate everyone who has signed up, due to the nature of the operations and for public safety, we will keep you updated of the latest developments. We appreciate everyone’s interest in caring for our parks and nature areas,” he added.

As per an official news release, the oil spill happened after one of the oil cargo tanks was ruptured due to an allision. “Dredger VOX MAXIMA had reported a sudden loss in engine and steering control before its allision with bunker vessel MARINE HONOUR on 14 June 2024,” the release stated.

“The allision caused a rupture of one of the MARINE HONOUR’s oil cargo tanks, and its contents of low-sulphur fuel oil were released to the sea,” it read.

Oil spill at East Coast Park. Photo courtesy: www.facebook.com/desmondtslee
Oil spill at East Coast Park. Photo courtesy: www.facebook.com/desmondtslee

The joint release said MPA patrol craft were immediately activated and deployed to spray dispersants on the spill. MPA’s oil spill response contractor was also activated, and they mobilised an oil skimmer to reduce the impact of the spill.

Meanwhile, Lee had urged assistance from volunteers by sharing an online form on Facebook on June 15.

As per latest development, there are no signs of oil slick within Sisters’ Islands Marine Park but oil sheen was observed in the surrounding waters.

Several beaches closed

To facilitate clean-up efforts, the following beaches will be closed until further notice:

a. Beaches at East Coast Park (from Area B to H).

b. Labrador Nature Reserve (Jetty and Rocky Shore).

c. Sentosa – Sentosa’s beaches remain open for public, but sea activities and swimming are not allowed at Tanjong, Palawan and Siloso Beach.

d. Beaches at St John’s, Lazarus, and Kusu Islands.

The government has advised visitors to keep away from these areas to facilitate the clean-up operations. All other areas at both East Coast Park and Labrador Nature Reserve, including F&B, to remain open.