12 farms ordered to stop fish sales in aftermath of oil spill

12 farms ordered to stop fish sales in aftermath of oil spill
A box containing oil-soaked sheets at Mr Timothy Ng’s 2Jays Pte Ltd fish farm. Mr Ng said no more than 10kg of fish at his farm had died due to the oil spill on Jan 3, 2017. Photo: Alfred Chua/TODAY
Published: 12:00 AM, January 7, 2017
Updated: 12:08 AM, January 7, 2017

SINGAPORE — Nine more farms have been told to stop selling fish as a result of the oil spill, although the authorities said on Friday (Jan 6) that no new patches of oil had been spotted and the cleanup progress was going well.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said that the suspension would be in place “until food safety evaluations are complete”. This brings the total number of farms told to stop sales to 12, on top of the three ordered to do so on Thursday.

Some 300 tonnes of oil gushed into the waters off Singapore on Tuesday night, after two ships collided off Pasir Gudang Port in Johor.

The AVA has been visiting coastal fish farms in the East Johor Straits to ascertain and mitigate the situation, and to assist in the cleanup.

Oil-absorbent pads and canvas were given to 25 farmers near the oil spill site to help protect their fish stock, and the authority also collected fish samples for food-safety tests.

Its spokesperson said: “While some farms have reported some fish mortalities of about 250kg, most of the farms in the same area did not report any ... There is minimal impact to supply.”

Separately, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) stressed that “good progress” has been made in containing and cleaning up the oil spillage in Singapore’s waters following the collision of container vessels Wan Hai 301 and Gibraltar-registered container vessel APL Denver. No new patches of oil have been spotted along East Johor Straits, and port operations remain unaffected, MPA said.

Cleanup operations are still taking place at various places such as the Changi Point Ferry Terminal, fish farms at Nenas Channel and Noordin beach situated on the northern coastline of Pulau Ubin.

The MPA also deployed oil-spill response vessels, containment booms and spill recovery equipment such as harbour busters, skimmers and absorbent booms and pads.

“MPA and the other government agencies are monitoring the situation closely and will carry out necessary cleanup efforts,” it said.

An 800m stretch of Changi Beach has been closed until further notice due to the oil spill, the National Environment Agency said on Thursday.

The closure is to help facilitate the clean-up of the affected area, the NEA said, and advised the public to avoid the area.

Members of the public who spot any oil patches in Singapore’s waters or coastline may call the MPA’s 24-hour Marine Safety Control Centre at 6325 2488/9.