Dredger’s Loss of Control Causes Oil Spill Off Singapore

Singapore authorities reported on Monday that a dredger boat, the Vox Maxima, experienced a sudden loss of engine and steering control, causing it to collide with a stationary cargo tanker, the Marine Honor. The collision occurred on Friday and resulted in the rupture of one of the Marine Honor’s cargo tanks, releasing low-sulfur oil. Although the leak has been contained, tides have carried the spilled oil, treated with dispersants, further along the shoreline, including to the popular resort island of Sentosa.

In a joint statement, Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority, National Environment Agency, National Parks Board, and Sentosa Development Corp., announced that the master and crew members of the Vox Maxima are cooperating with the ongoing investigations.

As a result of the spill, parts of the beachfront at a public park, beaches on three southern islands, and a nature reserve have been closed to facilitate cleanup efforts. While Sentosa beaches remain open to the public, sea activities and swimming are prohibited.

Oil Spill Response Limited, an industry-funded cooperative specializing in spill response, will deploy floating containment and recovery devices to gather the oil on the water surface. Two skimmer craft will then transfer the collected oil into storage tanks.

Over 250 workers are involved in the cleanup effort. Close to 0.9 miles of containment booms have been deployed to trap the oil, and an additional 1 mile of temporary barriers will be installed over the next few days to prevent further oil spreading onto the shore.

The National Parks Board has also deployed oil-absorbing booms to protect mangroves at another park that has not been affected so far. Volunteers have been assigned to patrol the park for early signs of oil slicks.

Conservationists and biologists are monitoring the full extent of the damage to marine life and wildlife. Photographs published in Singapore newspapers and on Facebook show a small dead fish and a kingfisher covered in oil.