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Disaster area: Oil spill on Thai beach

Workers clean oil spills caused by a leak from an undersea pipeline 20 km (12.4 miles) off Thailand's eastern coast at Mae Ramphueng beach in Rayong province, Thailand, January 29, 2022. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Oil seeping from an underwater pipeline in the Gulf of Thailand continued to wash ashore and blacken the sand on Saturday, prompting the declaration of a disaster area on a beach in eastern Thailand.

The news: The leak from a pipeline owned by Star Petroleum Refining Public Company Limited (SPRC) began late Tuesday and was brought under control the next day after spilling an estimated 50,000 litres (13,209 gallons) of oil into the ocean 20 kilometres (12 miles) off the country’s industrialised eastern coast.

  • After spreading over 47 square kilometres (18 square miles) of sea in the gulf, some of the oil reached the shores at Mae Ramphueng beach in Rayong province late on Friday.
  • The navy is assisting SPRC in containing the leak, with the major oil mass still offshore and only a minor quantity washing up on at least two locations along the 12-kilometer-long beach.
  • The navy reported that about 150 SPRC workers and 200 navy personnel had been dispatched to clean up the beach, and that oil boom barriers had been erected.
  • With booms and dispersing spray, 12 navy ships and three civilian ships, as well as a number of aeroplanes, worked to confine the spill at sea.
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