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The Thai Navy has joined the battle to halt the oil spill in the Gulf of Thailand that has now reached Koh Samet’s Phrao Bay.
About 50,000 liters of crude oil spilled into the sea on Saturday about 20 kilometers of the coast of Rayong in the east from a PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) pipeline. The part state-owned company said that ten ships were involved in an urgent clean up and they were confident they could contain the leak. Aerial photographs taken on Sunday did show the area of oil had been reduced however there were fears of the effects of the chemicals used to disperse the crude oil.
Despite company claims the slick could be contained it reached Phrao Bay Beach at 7pm last night. By 10pm 600 meters of the beach was covered with oil 20 – 30 cm thick. Rayong governor Vichit Chatphaisit has ordered an immediate clean up of the bay to prevent the slick spreading to other areas.
It has been reported that tourists have been seen leaving the area to move to locations where they could swim.
Another PTT subsidiary was involved in a huge oil spill of the northwestern Australia in 2009 that was the country’s worst ever offshore drilling incident. The slick from the Montara oil field spread as far as Indonesian waters and grew to almost 90,000 square kilometers.