Hotels and Resorts in Rayong and Koh Samet have filed complaints with the government over the impact of pollution caused by a leak of an undersea oil pipeline off the coast.
Approximately 40% of hotels and resorts in Rayong and on the island of Koh Samet have had bookings cancelled due to the oil spill.
A source said yesterday that the Damrongtham Centre of the Interior Ministry has set up an ad hoc complaint point on Mae Ramphueng Beach, a popular tourist destination that was seriously affected by the oil spill sludge being washed ashore.
Reservations at hotels and resorts this week have been cancelled due to fears that local produce, especially seafood, might have been contaminated due to the oil spill, according to Piyada Khwanha, the president of Rayong’s restaurant operators.
A vendor who sells hammocks and swimming rings by the beach said that she had invested a great deal in stock in anticipation of a busy Chinese New Year market that never materialized.
Reservations at hotels cancelled due to oil spill
Meanwhile, Assistant Professor Thon Thamrongnawasawat of Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Fisheries expressed hope that inclement weather bringing swirling winds and powerful currents wouldn’t push the slick towards the shore.
The navy’s center for prevention and eradication of water pollution, meanwhile, released a summary of efforts to protect the beach and break up the oil spill. They also confirmed that photographs taken by the navy and the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency of the area showed no evidence of an oil spill.
Environment and Natural Resources Minister Varawut Silpa-Archa said the beaches of Koh Samet are free of any oil influx. He also said there were no signs of oil on Ao Phrao or other beaches on the island facing the eastern province mainland.
Koh Samet’s tourism association president, Sarinthip Thapmongkolsap, reported that although no oil stains have been seen on Koh Samet so far, more than 4,000 rooms at hotels have been cancelled over concerns around the unforeseen impact of the spill.
In the past two to three days, about 40 percent of hotel and resort bookings in Mae Ramphueng have been cancelled, according to Watchara Sarason, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Rayong office.
On the night of Jan 25, crude oil leaked from an undersea pipeline owned by Star Petroleum Refining Plc. An oil leak was discovered at a mooring 20 kilometres off the mainland.
So far, the refining company has reported that up to 50,000 litres of oil leaked into the sea.
As a result of an oil spill in the ocean, the Department of Pollution Control will establish a committee to evaluate the damage to the environment. As a result of the accident, the company has apologized for its actions and has offered to cover the costs of the clean-up.
In the meantime, the governor of Rayong declared a disaster zone in the area, warning people not to swim in it. The governor also suspended seafood consumption in the area.
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