A Libyan oil tanker and a Singapore bulk oil carrier collided off Singapore late last week, spilling about 33,000 barrels of oil into the Pacific. According to Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA), the oil tanker, Alyarmouk, and the Singapore-registered Sinar Kapuas collided about 11 nautical miles northeast of Pedra Branca—just east of Singapore. Reuters reports that damage to the cargo tanks on the Alyarmouk from the collision resulted in the oil spill. V. Ships U.K., which manages the Alyarmouk, estimates that a total of 33,000 barrels of crude oil was spilled. No injuries were reported in the crash and no traffic was reported in the port at the time of the collision.
The Alyarmouk was traveling from Tanjung, Pelapas, Malaysia to China, according to the port authority, while the Sinar Kapuas was traveling from Hong Kong to Singapore. Two oil spill companies have been called in to help clean up the spill, the MPA said.
The Straits of Singapore lie between Singapore and the Riau Archipelago, Indonesia. It links the Straits of Malacca to the South China Sea, making it one of the busiest sea lanes in the world. According to the Singapore government information site, “Recognising the high vulnerability of the Straits to incidents leading to oil spills and subsequent pollution of the surrounding waters and shores, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has put in place a comprehensive system to ensure navigational safety in the Straits to minimise marine accidents and oil pollution. Furthermore, there is also an oil spill contingency plan, which is operationally ready to respond to any marine emergency or accident.”
There have now been 11 major oil spills in the Straits of Singapore, including a 1997 spill where 28,463 tons of oil spilled from the Cypress-registered Evoikos when it collided with the Thai-registered crude oil tanker Orapin Global.