Penang oil spill a major disaster, says Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng

Malaysia's Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the oil spill in waters along Penang's coast has spread to 70 sq km and is a major disaster.
Malaysia's Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the oil spill in waters along Penang's coast has spread to 70 sq km and is a major disaster. PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES

GEORGE TOWN (The Star/Asia News Network) - An oil spill in waters along Penang's coast has spread to 70 sq km and is a major disaster, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on Sunday (May 29).

"We are really disappointed that the state government was not informed of the spill until late on Saturday," said Mr Lim to reporters after visiting the Kahlee Amman Temple in Air Itam on Sunday.

The slick, believed to have leaked from an Indian vessel, was first detected at the Perai Bulk Terminal on Friday night, and spread to waters off Gurney Drive on Friday evening.

Mr Lim said that the spill could threaten fishes and the livelihood of fishermen.

"We hope the Federal Government would successfully complete the clean-up operations," he added.

Clean-up efforts by the Department of Environment (DOE) and Penang Port Sdn Bhd that began on Saturday morning were continuing on Sunday.

Penang Port Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Sasedharan Vasudevan was quoted by the New Straits Times as saying some 90 per cent of the oil had been removed. The authorities had yet to identify the source of the spill, he said.