Wednesday, June 13, 2001

The Phenol spill of 13 June 2001


This spill involved the Indonesian Endah Lestari. See Straits Times, 15 Jun 2001

ENV NEWS RELEASE NO: 085/2001
DATE OF ISSUE: 13/06/2001

PHENOL TANKER RUNS AGROUND OFF STRAITS OF JOHOR: PUBLIC ADVISED TO KEEP OFF WATERS

   An Indonesian-registered tanker carrying 630 tonnes of phenol has been grounded in Malaysian waters off Pulau Ubin. The tanker was slightly damaged and some of the phenol has leaked into the sea.

   The Ministry of the Environment is monitoring the waters in the channel between Pulau Ubin and the main island.

   As a precaution, the public is advised not to fish and to avoid going into the water at Pulau Ubin, Changi, Pasir Ris and Punggol, until further notice.


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ENV NEWS RELEASE NO: 092/2001
DATE OF ISSUE: 27/06/2001

JOINT ENV AND AVA PRESS RELEASE WATER SAFE AND SUSPENSION OF SALE OF FISH FROM FISH FARMS LIFTED

     The Ministry of the Environment (ENV) has been monitoring the seawaters in the Straits of Johor off Pulau Ubin and the main island of Singapore since the phenol tanker capsized in the Straits of Johor on 13 Jun 2001.

2.   The remaining phenol from the capsized tanker was removed on 23 Jun 01. ENV's latest monitoring results on 26 Jun 01 also showed that no phenol was detected in the seawaters. The seawaters in the coastal areas of Pulau Ubin, Pasir Ris, Punggol and Changi are therefore safe for swimming and fishing.

3.   The Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has also lifted the suspension on the harvesting and sale of all fish from the 37 fish farms located in the area affected by the phenol spill with immediate effect. These fish farms are located in the Pulau Ubin and Serangoon coastal areas.

4.   AVA has been testing fish samples from these farms and has found that the fish is now safe for consumption. Phenol does not accumulate in the tissue and is quickly excreted from the fish. Once the source of contamination is removed, the fish is able to get rid of the phenol in 1 to 2 days.

5.   The AVA uses gas chromatograph mass spectrometry to detect the minute traces of phenol in the water and the fish. The equipment and method is able to detect the presence of phenol to as low as parts per billion.

6.   Food safety is our primary concern. AVA will continue to closely monitor the fish farms to ensure that the fish remains safe for consumption.

Jointly Issued by ENV and AVA

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