The (oil) contamination on the Kampung Melayu coastline is probably linked with the spill that occurred in the eastern OPL
Batam, Riau Islands (ANTARA) - An oil spill that allegedly originated from a burning tanker ship in the Malaysian waters has polluted the Kampung Melayu Beach in Batam City, Riau Islands.

Raihan, a local resident, stated here on Wednesday that they only found out about the oil spill early in the morning.

"The water at the beach was covered in oil," he remarked while saying that the seawater has turned black.

The Riau Islands Police suspect the oil waste to have originated from a tanker ship MT Pablo on the China-Singapore route that caught fire off the Malaysian southern coast.

"Based on the report we received from the Harbor Masters and Port Authority Office (KSOP), the oil waste allegedly originated from a Gabon-flagged tanker ship MT Pablo sailing from China to Singapore that caught fire in the Malaysian waters two days ago on Monday (May 1)," Riau Islands Police's Special Crime Director Senior Commissioner Nasriadi remarked.

In addition, he said, the satellite image from the Batam City Environment Service on April 30 showed three oil spill locations in the eastern Out Port Limit (OPL) covering an area of some 13.70 kilometers.

"The (oil) contamination on the Kampung Melayu coastline is probably linked with the spill that occurred in the eastern OPL," he stated.

The black oil waste was also found in the anchorage area of Batu Ampar and Tanjung Uncang waters.

Nasriadi said, the police have coordinated with the port authority service and the city's environment office to apply temporary countermeasures and trace the origin of the waste.

The KSOP has used Absorbent Pad devices to absorb the oil spill, he remarked.

Meanwhile, a team from the port authority, the police, and the city's environment office has cleared up the oil spill that contaminated the beach.

"Our step is to tackle it first, so it does not spread further. We will then find out where the oil spill came from. This (oil spill) has polluted the area about one to 1.5 kilometers along the coast," Batam Port Authority Head and Harbormaster M. Takwim stated.

He elaborated that a 100-meter absorbent boom and 500 absorbent packs were readied to clean up the pollutants.

"This (the oil spill) can be an MFO (marine fuel oil) waste or it can be asphalt. We could not confirm it yet," he remarked.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said it received an alert at 4 p.m. local time on Monday of a tanker on fire, about 37.5 nautical miles northeast of the coastal region of Tanjung Sedili in the state of Johor.

The tanker was sailing from China to Singapore, with 28 crew members onboard, when it caught fire, the MMEA stated.

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Translator: Ilham Y Pratama, Sri Haryati
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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