Oil Spills Off Singapore Coast After Tanker Collision

A tanker spilled about 18,000 barrels of crude oil off Singapore's coast after a collision with another ship ripped a hole in one of its tanks, authorities said Tuesday.

The MT Bunga Kelana 3 Oil tanker.
Photo: John Regan, marinetraffic.com
The MT Bunga Kelana 3 Oil tanker.

The spill caused an oil slick about four miles (six kilometers) south of Singapore's east coast, and crews were scrambling to keep it from reaching the coast, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said.

Cleanup teams from Singapore and neighboring Malaysia deployed about 40 tons of oil dispersants, 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) of containment booms and two skimmer boats designed to scoop up the crude, the port authority said.

About 200 Singaporean and tanker personnel were on standby to clean up the coastline if needed, the port authority said.

Malaysian coast guard Commander Abdul Hadib Abdul Wahab said the oil spill was being contained and there was no danger it would hit the coast.

"It's just a thin film of crude oil," he told The Associated Press. "It's a small spill. It's being dispersed and the situation is under control."

Abdul Hadib said any environmental damage would be "very minimal" based on the amount of oil leaked.

The spill occurred when the Malaysian-registered tanker MT Bunga Kelana 3 collided with the St. Vincent's and The Grenadines-registered bulk carrier MV Waily early Tuesday in the Singapore Strait about eight miles (13 kilometers) to the southeast of the city-state's east coast, the port authority said. Both ships are currently anchored in the strait.

The operator of the MT Bunga Kelana 3, Kuala Lumpur-based AET, estimated up to 2,500 metric tons, or 18,325 barrels, of oil may have spilled into the sea.

The BP oil spill off the coast of Louisiana has leaked at least 5,000 barrels a day of crude from an underwater pipeline since an initial accident on April 20. (Track the spill)

No injuries were reported and traffic to Singapore's port, one of the world's busiest, was not affected, the authority said.