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PHOTOS: Oil Spill in Thailand's Samet Island

About 50,000 liters of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Thailand on July 27 from a pipeline operated by PTT Global Chemical Plc. The oil spill reached Samet island off Rayong province which is a popular tourist destination.

PTT has already apologized and vowed to help in the rehabilitation of the area:

PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited would like to express its sincerest apologies for the oil spill situation and would like to express its gratitude to all parties who have provided help to resolve the current situation. As of today, the oil leaks impact at Prao Bay has been solved and the emergency situation there has now been terminated. The next phase is the recovery of the environment of which a plan is being prepared. This includes a plan for helping the affected victims of the situation.

On August 4, the company claimed that 99% of the oil slick has been removed already:

The oil slick removal operation today removed 99% of the oil slick. The transferring and transporting of oil stained debris off Prao bay to Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate Port was supported by the Royal Thai Navy for further examination, categorization, and elimination with the standards fully approved by the Department of Industrial Works.

Greenpeace has posted some photos of the clean-up operation and the impact of the oil spill in the area:

Photo from Facebook page of Greenpeace Thailand

Photo from Facebook page of Greenpeace Thailand

Photo from Facebook page of Greenpeace Thailand

Photo from Facebook page of Greenpeace Thailand

Clean up operation. Photo from Facebook page of Greenpeace Thailand

Clean-up operation. Photo from Facebook page of Greenpeace Thailand

Clean up operation. Photo from Facebook page of Greenpeace Thailand

Clean-up operation. Photo from Facebook page of Greenpeace Thailand

Clean-up operation. Photo from Facebook page of Greenpeace Thailand

Clean-up operation. Photo from Facebook page of Greenpeace Thailand

Oil spill clean-up. Photo from Facebook of Richard Barrow

Oil spill clean-up. Photo from Facebook of Richard Barrow

Despite the removal of oil slick, there are still concerns about the impact of the oil spill on the marine ecosystem:

Zanyasan Tanantpapat of Coconuts Bangkok wrote how the oil spill affected the livelihood of local residents:

Small fishing boat families have been hit the hardest by the spill, as selling seafood caught in the waters around Koh Samet to restaurants on the island is their main source of income… and local restaurants are refusing to buy for fear of contamination.

Motorbike and taxi rental businesses have also taken a hit as tourist numbers have reduced drastically.

Civil society groups have issued a statement expressing concern about the lack of information regarding the disaster:

Since the incidence has occurred, PTT GC has insisted that the situation is not worrying and is containable. Little information has been disclosed as to impacts of the oil spill on the environment, natural resources, the ecology and people’s and the chemicals used to dissolve it.

The lack of disclosure as to potential impacts on the environment and people has left public in the dark as far as the harmful situation is concerned.

They issued this challenge to PTT and government agencies:

The corporation is obliged to explain the real reasons of the pipeline leakage to public as well as detail of the impacts on the environment, natural resources, the ecology and people’s health as a result of the oil spill and the use of the chemical dispersants.

State agencies have to investigate to find out the reasons and the amount of the oil leakage and to enforce applicable criminal and civil provisions to bring the perpetrators to justice and to ensure that such incidence shall not happen again.

According to environment groups, there have been more than 200 oil spill disasters in Thailand in the past three decades.

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