May 27, 2010 / 9:19 AM / 10 years ago

Singapore closes beaches due to oil spill

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore closed most of its eastern beaches due to the oil spilt in nearby waters following a collision between a tanker and a bulk carrier earlier this week, the environmental agency said on Thursday.

A pollution control boat sails near the damaged Malaysian flagged MT Bunga Kelana 3 after a collision with a bulk carrier in the waters between Malaysia and Singapore May 25, 2010. REUTERS/Greg Somerville

The oil slick affected a stretch of more than 7 kilometres (4.4 miles) of eastern Singapore, which include beaches, rock bunds and popular recreational and sailing areas, the National Environmental Agency (NEA) said.

For a graphic of affected areas, double-click here

Patches of oil have also affected parts of the coastline in easternmost Singapore, the Maritime and Port of Authority of Singapore (MPA) said.

However, the spill has not spread further on Thursday, the MPA said, adding that shipping traffic via the Singapore Strait was unaffected.

The NEA could not say how long the beaches would be closed, but said cleanup operations were continuing.

The Malaysian flagged aframax MT Bunga Kelana 3 was carrying about 62,000 tonnes of light crude when it was involved in the collision with bulk carrier MV Waily in waters between Malaysia and Singapore on Tuesday, spilling 2,500 tonnes of oil.

But the spill, equivalent to about 18,000 barrels, is dwarfed by the 175,000 barrels of oil that has poured into the Gulf of Mexico since the offshore explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon rig last month.

Reporting by Harry Suhartono and the Singapore Energy Desk, Editing by Himani Sarkar

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