The Gulf of Thailand is the site of the world’s latest significant oil spill, with as much as 128 tons of crude oil leaking from a seabed pipeline.
The leak came from the pipeline of a mooring station in the Gulf of Thailand, not far south of Bangkok. Pipeline and station both belong to the Star Petroleum Refining Public Company, which promptly reported the leak. It was identified at 9 p.m. on Tuesday night and stopped around midnight. And in those three hours, it made a slick spanning tens of square miles.
Thailand’s navy is helping to clean up the spill before it can reach the shoreline. It’s much easier to clean up floating oil before it has a chance to sink or be washed ashore.
Thai Navy Spokesman Vice Adm. Pokkrong Monthatphalin said in a text message to reporters that the navy sent a surveillance plane, two ships and a helicopter to help with the clean-up. He said the helicopter would survey the area and spray a chemical to help disperse the oil slick.
Star Petroleum is working on the rest of the cleanup. They began immediately on the discovery of the leak, and expect to be able to get all of the floating spilled crude oil.
“We received good support from relevant government agencies and the private sector, including manpower, working boats and dispersant supplies to support the operation to complete clean the oil from the sea’s surface,” said a statement by Star Petroleum.
This leak comes only days after another, potentially larger oil spill in the Gulf of Thailand, caused by the sinking of a tanker on Saturday carrying over 132,000 gallons of diesel oil. The Royal Thai Navy is still working on containing that spill. While all crew were rescued from the vessel before it sank, it is unknown how much fuel has leaked out of the tanks.