Thai Oil Spill Forces Evacuation

Tourists forced off the beaches

(Royal Thai Navy)
Photo: Royal Thai Navy oil spill thailand PTT chemical

Tourists and residents were evacuated from Thailand’s Phrao Bay Tuesday after an estimated 5,000 liters of crude oil washed up on the island. The oil leaked into the ocean from an offshore pipeline owned and operated by PTT Global Chemical, the nation’s largest petrochemical producer.

An estimated 50,000 liters (13,000 gallons) have spilled into the ocean since the line ruptured on July 27, according to National Geographic. Some Thai officials fear it could be much worse than reported. "If that (50,000 litres) was the real amount, they should have already eliminated it, they should have solved the problem fast enough before it reached Samet island," said Sathit Pitutacha of Thailand's Democrat Party.

American environmental group Greenpeace has also weighed in, calling the spill “massive” and condemning continued oil exploration in the Gulf of Thailand.

PTT Global Chemical says they have deployed oil booms to contain the spill and are using oil dispersants. They also say that the Thai navy has joined some 300 PTT workers in cleaning up the area. 

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