SINGAPORE- The usually scenic sea view of East Coast Park was stained with slicks of black oil along the shore and waters on Wednesday (July 19) evening.
When The Straits Times arrived at the stretch of affected shoreline near Carpark F2, there was a greasy smell in the air. Black patches of oil were also seen along the beach and were estimated to affect a stretch of about 300m.
Contractors from the National Environment Agency (NEA) were also spotted near the affected beach area.
In a statement on Wednesday night, NEA said that its officers found a section of the shoreline of East Coast Beach "to be affected by an oil patch".
"Clean-up operations at the affected 400m stretch of East Coast Beach will commence tomorrow morning at first light," said a spokesman.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said it was alerted to the incident at 5.42pm on Wednesday. At that time, it was informed that "oil was sighted along the beach east of Bedok Jetty", said a spokesman.
"MPA has deployed patrol boats with oil dispersants along the area. There has been no sightings of oil found at sea. We are currently investigating the situation," he added.
Mr Daniel Tong, 43, assistant operations director of De-Prospero, which runs restaurant Central Thai nearby, said he first noticed the smell of "raw oil" at around 5.30pm.
"I was walking past when I saw the 'oil spill' that was around the break of the waves," he said.
He added that business at the restaurant, which has an alfresco dining area and is located about 50m from the affected stretch, was slightly affected as patrons were bothered by the smell.
"Hopefully this can be taken care of soon because it's not good for the environment," said Mr Tong.
Meanwhile, people are advised to exercise caution when visiting the beach, and to avoid the affected stretches where cleaning operations are ongoing, said the NEA spokesman, adding that the agency is also "closely monitoring the quality of the seawater".