DOE: Port Dickson oil spill sample results to be known in two months

Absorbent booms are used to absorb the oil from the spill during cleaning work carried out in the mangrove area in Tanjung Tuan, October 18, 2020. — Bernama pic
Absorbent booms are used to absorb the oil from the spill during cleaning work carried out in the mangrove area in Tanjung Tuan, October 18, 2020. — Bernama pic

SEREMBAN, Oct 18 — Results of the oil samples taken from four ships docked at Kuala Linggi following an oil spill incident that polluted Pantai Cermin, Batu 10, Port Dickson will only be known in an estimated two months’ time.

Department of Environment (DOE) director, Norlin Jaafar said the DOE had taken 12 oil samples and sent these to the Chemistry Department for analysis and further investigation. The samples were procured with the cooperation of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and Malaysian Marine Department.

“The oil spill which was detected on October 12, polluted the coastal area for two kilometres, from Pantai Cermin to the Tanjung Tuan mangrove forest in Melaka,” she said, adding that till today, an estimated 80 per cent of the clean-up work had been completed.

The clean-up operation is affected by various factors including weather and tides, the affected physical area, the impact magnitude and oil spill residue that remained in the sea.

“Oil dumping at sea is hard to detect because by the time it takes for the oil to reach the beach or for it to be detected by enforcement agencies, the perpetrators would have fled or covered up their act,” she said.

Norlin stressed that while the DOE would continue to work with other marine enforcement agencies to step up enforcement and patrols in Malaysian waters, port operators, contractors and shipping companies needed to increase monitoring in their respective areas.

“That’s why it’s vital for the public with any information about an oil spill to report it immediately to the authorities so that action can be taken to manage it before the oil reaches the beach,” she said.

On October 12, media reports that a 2km stretch of Pantai Cermin had been polluted by an oil spill came to the attention of Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who visited the location to witness the damage personally last Tuesday. — Bernama

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