On the eve of lunar new year, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) release a media statement regarding 'Contact between vessels NYK Themis and AZ Fuzhou' - MPA News centre, 30 January 2014.
A collision between the vessels happened at East Keppel Fairway at about 4 km south of Marina South. "NYK Themis" is a Panama-flagged containership while "AZ Fuzhou" is a barge being towed by "AZ Carnation". Here's a estimated location mapped out by Ria Tan (wildsingapore) to show collision spot.
|Estimated collision site|
It seems that some substantial amount of bunker oil escaped the clean up operations and floated towards the nearby southern islands such as Kusu, Lazarus and St. John's Island. It was by chance that a few of us had arranged to survey the reef at Kusu Island on lunar new year.
When we arrived at Kusu Island, there was already a signage put by Sentosa to warn people the presence of oil slicks in the big lagoon.
|Signage by Sentosa|
We were unaware of the extend of the oil spill impact on Kusu Island but immediately pass the island's ticketing counter, we were shocked at the sight. We could clearly see the oil marks on the inner left sea wall of the lagoon.
|Thick layer of oil on the sea wall.|
|Oil on the sand of the high shore.|
|Patches of oil slick.|
|Sheen on the water at some seagrass patches.|
|Common sea star right next to a patch of oil slick.|
|Closer image of the oil on the sea wall.|
|Line of oil on the sea wall from the high shore.|
|Flowing patterns of the oil at mid shore.|
|Oil trapped in coral structures.|
|Oil slick in a small pool at the mouth of lagoon.|
|Oil marks on reef|
|Oil trapped between large rocks on the seawall's edge|
|Thin layer of oil|
|Sheen from oil on the water surface|
|Oil slick right in between corals and an anemone.|
|Five-spot anemone shrimp, with oil slick in the foreground.|
|The same oil slick next to the corals.|
|Some oil has covered a small part of the giant carpet anemone.|
|Trails of snails.|
|Purple ink released by the sea hare when it is stressed.|
|Oil from running my finger gently on the animal.|
I also encountered a pair of sea hare "trapped" in a pool with a thick layer of oil.
|Can you find the sea hare?|
|The pair of sea hare from the image above.|
Here's an overview picture of the lagoon affected by the oil spill. Places where we found oil in the lagoon are shaded in orange. Mostly on the high shores and left sea wall.
|Shading of the lagoon with traces of oil.|
Oil spills have great effect on marine life, especially animals that need to surface to breath and also the intertidal animals. From this trip, there were already animals showing signs of stress from the oil spill, just about 1.5 days after the collision took place. The sea hares were all coated with oil and are struggling to survive.
Other than marine animals living in the lagoon, other animals visit the lagoon to forage. How will the oil spill impact these visiting animals?
|Imprint left by visiting shore bird.|
Here's a video montage I have complied using the photos and some videos taken during this trip to document the impact of oil spill at Kusu Island.
Posts by others:
Chay Hoon - Oil Spill @ Kusu Island on her Facebook
Kok Sheng - Stress and more stress on Kusu Island