Samet Island in Thailand faced a 50-ton oil spill this weekend, and the damage has been extensive for the popular tourist destination, even though the majority of the spill was contained within 24 hours.
The leak occurred in an offshore pipeline owned by PTT Global Chemical Public Limited Co. Saturday morning and spread across the Gulf of Thailand. The Nation reported that PTT Global Chemical and the Thai Navy contained much of the spill by Saturday night.
The damage, however, was extensive. Tourists were warned to stay away from the beach as crews worked to scrape the sand clean and clear the water.
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“The top priorities right now are to get rid of the oil on the sand and the seawater, and to make sure the spill doesn’t spread to other shores,” Rayong Deputy Gov. Supeepat Chongpanish told The Associated Press
Chongpanish said splatters of crude oil, some 1,000 feet wide, landed on the shore of Prao Bay, which is among the most popular tourist destinations on the island.
“This is a very beautiful, white sandy beach, so we want to make the spill go away as soon as possible, Chongpanish said.
Thai authorities said it might be some time before the environmental damage is fully assessed.
“The spill is definitely having an impact on the environment, but we have not detected any deaths of marine animals yet at this point,” provincial Gov. Wichit Chatphaisit told the AP. “PTT will have to take responsibility for the damage this has caused.”
Thailand produces less than 400,000 barrels of oil per day, and consumption is more than twice that amount.
Thailand has proven oil reserves of more than 450 million barrels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The Ministry of Finance owns a majority stake in PTT, according to the Energy Information Administration.
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