Major oil and HNS spill incidents.
Eastern Fortitude Incident
On January 15, 2002 around 19.30 hrs, the Panama - registered " Eastern Fortitude " hit a rock at Sa Mae San Sub District, Amphoe Sattahip, Chon Buri province at latitude 12º 28.1 'N, longitude 100º 58.4 'E causing damages to the vessel's bow and forward bottom. There were no dead or injuries but 234 tons of low speed diesel oil were spilled into the sea and spread over the water surface by surging tides, waves and wind. The level of seriousness was medium. The oil forming a thick and a thin layers spread to Chuang Island and Shark Rock. After 4-5 days, the floating oil absorbed water and formed water - in - oil emulsions like mousse. Some became lumps of solidified oil and were washed onto Mae Lamphueng beach in Rayong province for the distance of 4 kilometres. Some reached Nam Rin beach , Pala beach and Payun beach in Rayong province covering the distance of 7 kilometres.
The Marine Department as a coordinating centre for the prevention and combating of oil pollution under the Prime Minister's Regulation for the Prevention and Combating of Oil Pollution B.E. 2538 had promptly taken action as soon as it received the report of the accident. The Department had requested cooperation from various agencies i.e. the Navy, Pollution Control Department and Oil Industry Environment Safety Group (IESG ) to clean up the spill in accordance with the oil spill national contingency plan. The summary of actions taken is as follows.
1. Off-shore Clean-up
The movement of the oil slick had been tracked by the Navy's aircrafts and the Marine Department's patrol boats in order to make a response plan. Several boats had been deployed for the clean-up including the Marine Department's Den Suddhi , the Navy's Samae Sarn, Udomdej, Rat and 25, IESG's Rayong Nava 2, Gulf kunda and RS 15, Mab ta Pud Industrial Estate's Kor Nor Or 101, 15 and 16 as well as the boat from Safelon Offshore Thailand Co., Ltd..
The main anti-pollution boat in this operation was Den Suddhi. At the initial stage, the response team used dispersant to break up the slick into small droplets which could be sunk and dissipated. This technique was used in the insensitive area where the water was deeper than 15 meters. The spill which later formed mousses was contained by booms and collected from the sea by Den Suddhi and RS 15 , filling 160 buckets of 200 liters capacity. Altogether about 32 tons (13.6 %) of the spill was taken from the sea. The Marine Department hired Genco Co. to dispose the recovered oil.
2. Shoreline Clean-up
The oil that escaped the containment and later became tar balls were found scattered on the following beaches after being washed ashore.
2.1 South of Chuang Island in Chon Buri province - the tar balls were found on the pebble - strewn beach covering the area of 2 meters wide and 100 meters long. The Navy which had jurisdiction over this area collected the tar balls for further disposal by Genco Co.
2.2 Mae Lamphueng beach in Rayong province - the tar ball were found along the coast for 4 kilometres. They were collected by 54 cadets from the Marine Department's Merchant marine Training Centre and 200 personnel from the Navy during 21 - 23 January 2002.
2.3 Tar balls were also found on Pala beach, Payun beach and Nam Rin beach in Rayong province on 26 January 2002 for the distance of 7 kilometres. The Marine Department in cooperation with the Sub District Administration Offices in Rayong province and the Navy collected the tar balls until 28 January 2002.
The 42 tons of collected tar balls from the mentioned beaches were put into black plastic bags and sent to Genco Co. for disposal.
3. Legal Actions Against Wrongdoers
3.1 The Marine Department had taken the following legal actions against shipmaster, shipowner and ship's agent.
3.1.1 The Marine Department had lodged a complaint against Eastern Fortitude's shipmaster at Sattahip Police Station in Chon Buri province on 17 January 2002 under section 119 bis of the Navigation in Thai Waters Act.
3.1.2 The Marine Department, as a port state , had ordered the detention of the ship since 17 January 2002.
3.1.3 The Marine Department had fined the ship's agent N.Y.K. Transport Service ( Thailand ) under section 102 and section 103 of the Navigation in Thai Waters Act for failing to report the accident to the authority within 24 hours.
3.1.4 The Marine Department had requested cooperation from Police Superintendent of immigration Office at Map Ta Pud in Rayong province on 18 January 2002. and at Pattaya and Sri Racha in Chon Buri province on 21 January 2002 not to allow the wrongdoers to leaves Thailand during the legal proceeding.
3.1.5 The Marine Department submitted an application to Rayong Provincial Chief State Attorney to file a request with the Court to arrest the ship " Eastern Fortitude" under the Arrest of Ships Act B.E. 2534 (1991) until compensation is made or a reliable guarantee is placed to ensure that all the damages will be compensated.
In addition, The Marine Department had requested cooperation from the Navy's First Fleet to watch out for the escape of the wrongdoers until the case is settled.
3.2 Lawsuit and Claims against Wrongdoers
The Marine Department considered a lawsuit and claims for compensation of the clean-up cost and damage cost from P&I Britannia Steamship Insurance Association limited the insurer of ship owner. 25 million baht of clean-up cost was paid to government and private firms who carry out the clean-up operation. The Letter of undertaking also deposited to the Marine Department for guarantee of the further environmental damage at the cost of 75 million baht. The claims were settled on 20 March 2002