Oil spill turns Thai beach into ‘disaster area’

Beach in eastern Thailand declared disaster-hit zone due to oil leak from underwater pipeline, say media outlets.

Oil spill turns Thai beach into ‘disaster area’

A beach in eastern Thailand was declared a disaster-hit area on Saturday as oil leaking from an underwater pipeline in the Gulf of Thailand continued to wash up the coast and blacken the sand.

The leak has come from the pipeline owned by Star Petroleum Refining Public Company Limited (SPRC), local media outlets said.

It started on late Tuesday, but the incident was brought under control on Wednesday after about 50,000 liters of oil has already been spilled into the ocean.

The spill has reached Mae Ramphueng beach in eastern Rayong province on late Friday, spreading more than 47 square kilometers (over 18 square miles) of the water.

The Thai navy has been working with the company to stem the spread of the oil, saying that the main oil mass is still offshore and they could only clean a small amount of the sea compared to the whole spill.

As many as 150 company workers with 200 navy personnel have been working on the wash-up, the Thai navy noted.

“Twelve navy ships and three civilian ships along with a number of aircraft” have also been working to solve the problem.

"We and the company are still working at sea to reduce the amount of oil by cornering the spill and sucking up the oil and spraying dispersant," Rear Admiral Artorn Charapinyo, deputy commander of the First Naval Area Command, told reporters.