Cleanup could take a week, says Johor port authority

NEA contractors from Ramky Cleantech Services Pte Ltd clearing the oil stained sand at Changi Beach on Jan 5, 2017.
NEA contractors from Ramky Cleantech Services Pte Ltd clearing the oil stained sand at Changi Beach on Jan 5, 2017. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

JOHOR BARU • Johor's port authority said it expects to take a week to clean up an oil spill caused by Tuesday's collision between two container vessels in the Johor Strait near Pasir Gudang Port, as Malaysian fishermen in the area estimated that their losses could amount to RM130,000 (S$41,700).

The Johor Port Authority said in a statement yesterday that the weather and water currents will determine how long it will take for the various agencies to clean up the spill, the Bernama news agency reported.

The authority added that the oil spill did not affect people in the area, including fishermen, or private jetties.

But fishermen at six villages near Pasir Gudang Port have said they expected to suffer losses as there were traces of oil in the water and it would be futile for them to go out to sea, the news agency said.

"When I visited the area, work to clean the oil spill was in progress... but there were still traces of oil on the sea surface which could have adverse effects on fishing equipment," said Southern Johor Fishermen Association chairman Azli Mohd Aziz. "So I am not sure whether they (fishermen) can go out to sea or not." The group represents 137 fishermen in the six villages.

 
 

The state port authority said yesterday that Pasir Gudang Port was operating as usual, but vessels could experience delay when berthing at the container terminal owing to cleanup work, Bernama reported.

The authority said quick action by the agencies involved, such as Johor Port, the Pasir Gudang Oil Spill Task Force, the Malaysian Department of Environment and the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, managed to prevent the spill from spreading over a wide area. It also said that the Singapore authorities took swift action, according to the report.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2017, with the headline 'Cleanup could take a week, says Johor port authority'. Print Edition | Subscribe