Mae Ramphueng beach in Rayong province was declared a disaster area on Saturday (29 Jan) after Star Petroleum Refining Public Company Limited leaked 20-50 tons of crude oil into the sea.
The crude oil stain is now over 47 square kilometers, more than nine times the size of Koh Samet. The authorities’ efforts to contain the oil to reach the beaches did not work. Currently, the oil is washing ashore and blackening the sand. Authorities have evacuated the area.
Currently, business operators and locals of Koh Samet are waiting to see what government agencies do next. Mrs. Sarinthip Thapmongkolsub, president of the Koh Samet Tourism Association, Rayong Province, said the public to not worry due to the low chances of the oil reaching the coasts. The situation is uncertain now.
Fishers in Noen Phra Community, Noen Phra Subdistrict, Muang District, Rayong Province, are now very worried. There is an imminent impact on marine animals and the economy.
Tourism industry representatives said there is a lot of concern. Near restaurants and hotels are now out of work due to government evacuation. The city was recovering from Covid-19 consequences. The smell and particles along the beach will not allow it to be open to the public for an extended time.
The Minister of Industry mobilized more than 200 people to block the oil from affecting the area. Furthermore, the Navy is working with SPRC to contain the leak and said that most of the oil mass is still offshore.
Twelve navy ships and three civilian ships along with several aircraft were also working to contain the spill at sea with booms and dispersant spray.