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Oil spill hits Phuket beaches

PHUKET: An oil spill washing up onto Phuket beaches as tar balls has now reached from Mai Khao Beach at the northern end of the island all the way to Nai Harn Beach at the southern end of Phuket’s west coast.

By The Phuket News

Thursday 17 June 2021, 02:21PM

The tar balls have turned large stretches of sand dark, and raised serious concerns among local residents.

The Phuket News was first informed of tar balls washing ashore at Mai Khao Beach at the northern end of the island on Sunday (June 13) in what at the time was believed to be an isolated incident

Now tar balls have been confirmed as far south as Kata Beach and even Nai Harn Beach, the southernmost beach on Phuket’s west coast, more than 37 kilometres from Mai Khao in a straight line.

At Mai Khao Beach, one local resident told The Phuket News that at first he and his partner did not realise the extent of the problem, but then realised that oil was plastered across the bottom of their shoes.

After understanding what they were looking at, the beachgoer described the situation, “There are globs of oil all over. Very bad, very sad.”

Another local resident told The Phuket News today that he first encountered the tar balls at Nai Harn last night while he was playing football on the beach.

“I saw something had stuck to the ball and I tried to wipe it off but it just smeared,” he said.

“Then when I got home I saw it all up the back of my legs, and it wouldn’t wash off,” he added.

The resident returned to the sands this morning for a beach cleanup at Kata.

“It was everywhere. We cleaned up what we could,” he said.

The Phuket News has yet to receive reports that tar balls have washed up at other beaches along the west coast, including Patong Beach, or reports that local officials have launched any response to clear the oil from the sands.

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Kurt | 18 June 2021 - 16:17:20

Phuket has a naval base with a Vice Admiral in command. He could order patrolling west of Phuket. Of course 24 hours a day. As we see it would be useful. Seems Thai Navy only functions office hours, and only till wind force 3 beaufort, other wise crews get sea sick. Fregates with real seamen, + helicopter on board are more useful than subs to protect/guard Thai coasts.

Kurt | 18 June 2021 - 11:01:01

Why is there not a navy fregate patrolling the shipping lanes west of Phuket, launching once in a while her helicopter to check ships doing from the air? 

Sandbar | 18 June 2021 - 09:50:11

There is one positive spin on this. At least the "flood" of tourists arriving won't need to get over exposure to the sun for a tan...they just need to go for a quick swim!

pollyog49 | 18 June 2021 - 08:06:23

There's oil along Natai beach and Bor Dan beach too.  

lelecuneo | 17 June 2021 - 16:10:40

so from wheer this one come from? who suppose to prevent or check that tankers dont dump this shit into the sea??? who is sleeping in this story??

Kurt | 17 June 2021 - 15:51:25

A disaster for environment and tourism. Are during south west monsoon time Thai navy vessels patrolling at sea west of Phuket, or are they just moored during windy days?

Espanol | 17 June 2021 - 15:39:24

Spill was detected last Sunday, volunteers are already trying to clean the beach, but the authorities have not done anything yet.

The last thing Phuket's reopening plan needs is the tarred beaches.


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