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Fears grow that the oil spill will reach the mainland

Tourists continue to leave Koh Samet in their droves as fears grow that the oil slick may reach the mainland.

About 50,000 liters of crude oil poured into the Gulf of Thailand on Saturday about 12 miles off the coast. The spill is having an extreme impact on tourism and could start to affect the fishing industry, officials an environmental group said on Tuesday. Somsak Phurisisak told reporters “We’re working to move visitors to other locations if they want to move, “I’m very concerned, I didn’t think this spill would impact tourism in uch an extreme way.” Pakdihan Himathongkam, a government spokesman, said aircraft were releasing chemical dispersant over the half-a-mile-long oil koh samet oil 2slick, while Ao Prao beach was closed to the public. “Our worry is that it could reach the mainland,” Pakdihan said. “What has happened is far more serious than what PTT said on the first day. Ply Pirom, programme manager at Greenpeace Southeast Asia told Reuters “we can expect an impact on fisheries and from chemical contamination in the food chain,”.

The tourism industry now looks set to miss the years revenue target of BT20 billion because of the contamination and the bad publicity from the spill. The tourism minister and operators on Koh Samet are calling for PTT Global Chemical to compensate the hotels affected in Koh Samet.

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