Star Petroleum to pay for clean-up

Star Petroleum to pay for clean-up

Committee to assess marine spill damage

Workers are cleaning up the oil-stained Mae Ramphueng beach in Rayong province on Saturday. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Workers are cleaning up the oil-stained Mae Ramphueng beach in Rayong province on Saturday. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)

The Pollution Control Department (PCD) will establish a committee to evaluate environmental damage caused by a marine oil spill some 20 kilometres off the coast of Rayong province that occurred last week.

The department's chief, Atthapol Charoenchansa, said the committee will calculate how much compensation Star Petroleum Refining Plc is required to pay for clean-up after oil leaked from one of its pipelines in the Gulf of Thailand.

The committee will be comprised of academics, experts and representatives from state agencies to find an accurate figure, ensuring transparency and credibility for all sides, he said.

"The PCD doesn't know at present what the cost of the rehabilitation efforts will be, so we need time to get more information, but according to the law, the company must pay every penny to clean up the environment," Mr Atthapol said.

He added that the department needs to monitor the situation as some of the oil might make it to the shoreline where seawater quality is currently in line with safety standards.

On Jan 25, the company's crude oil undersea pipeline broke. Initially, 400,000 litres of crude oil were reported to be have been spilt but the company later adjusted the figure to 160,000 litres.

The Department of Marine, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, the navy and the company have since applied measures to mitigate the impact of the oil spill by using buoys and dispersants.

The company has apologised for the accident and expressed a willingness to cover the costs of the cleanup.

Meanwhile, the governor ordered a disaster zone in the area, together with warning people not to swim in the sea. He has also suspended seafood consumption.

In an update, Varawut Silpa-archa, minister to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, added that wind has assisted in efforts to suppress the oil's spread.

"The good news is that the oil spill hasn't gone to Ao Phrao Beach due to a change in the wind. However, we have not yet stopped the operation right now, we need to wait and see for at least one week, making sure that the dispersed oil is no longer found here," he said.

The PCD, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, and the Department of Marine have filed a complaint with the police over the oil spill.

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