At Patong Beach, the oil was washed ashore along with other marine debris, leaving a line of waste from the ocean strewn along the waterline.
Mixing with sand on the beach, the oil formed what are commonly called “tar balls”.
Further north at Nai Yang Beach*, oil-covered blobs of marine debris lay strewn along the beach as families played nearby.
Oil first started washing ashore further north at Mai Khao last Sunday, but by Wednesday and Thursday this week was starting the plague other popular beaches such as Kata and Nai Harn beaches, some 37 kilometres away at the southern end of the island.
On Thursday afternoon more than 50 people were needed to rescue a sperm whale at Bang Tao Beach, on Phuket’s central west coast. The whale had several wounds along with oil smeared all over its nose and along its body.
The whale was taken into care by marine biologists at the Sireetarn Marine Endangered Animal Rescue Center, based at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre (PMBC) at Cape Panwa.
CORRECTION: The tar balls washed up at Patong Beach and Nai Yang Beach, not Mai Khao Beach as originally reported. Our apologies for the error.