All agencies concerned are accelerating clean-up operations to prevent the widespread impact of an oil slick in the Gulf of Thailand. Those who have been affected by the accident will be provided with assistance and compensation.
The incident took place on 27 July 2013 when about 50,000 liters of crude oil poured into the sea. The pipeline had sprung a leak about 20 kilometers off the coast of the eastern province of Rayong.
The pipeline operator, PTT Global Chemical, said in one of its statements that the clean-up operations have been carried out by the company with help from the Marine Department, the Royal Thai Navy and related state agencies to urgently get rid of the slick.
Concerned about the situation, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has instructed the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to ease the problem and handle the impact as quickly as possible. As the Defense Minister, the Prime Minister told the Royal Thai Navy to provide immediate assistance. If necessary, certain equipment might be borrowed from Singapore to deal with the oil spill. The Ministry of Public Health was also instructed to provide health care for local residents and tourists in the affected area.
Chairing the Cabinet meeting on 30 July 2013, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan told the meeting that all related agencies had been assigned to help restore the environment and ease the water pollution problem, caused by the oil spill. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is working out plans with PTT Global Chemical on ways to provide compensation and rehabilitation as a way to admit the company's responsibility for the incident, and together they will find ways to prevent such an incident in the future.
The Ministry also told the Cabinet meeting that it had mobilized a C130 aircraft to spray chemical substances that could remove the crude oil from the sea surface, as well. The area where the incident took place was ordered closed, paticularly around Ao Prao, Samet Island. The closure was meant to prevent the slick from reaching the shore, since there are a lot of tourists on the island, which is a popular tourism destination.
The Cabinet was told that measures have also been prepared to prevent the oil slick from penetrating Ban Phe beach in Rayong. Moreover, damage in marine ecology must be analyzed, while the environmental impact must likewise be addressed. The Ministry of Finance has also worked out additional measures to help affected people.
A special committee has been formed to investigate the oil leakage incident. Efforts are being stepped up to deal with negative impacts on both the environment and tourism.
PTT Global Chemical apologized at a news conference, saying that the company accepted responsibility for the leak.