Saturday, May 29, 2010

Oil Slick Still Spreading

President Obama told television audiences that the first thought on his mind each morning upon waking is about the Deepwater Horizon oil platform spill at the Gulf of Mexico. But when oil tanker T Bunga Kelana 3, carrying 62,000 tonnes of crude, and bulk carrier MV Waily collided 13 km offshore Changi East on Tuesday 25 May 2010, the National Environment Agency officials, Minister of Environment and Prime Minister never lost a minute of sleep. Regardless of the environmental damage from the 2,500 tonnes oil spill affecting East Coast Park to Changi beach, and loss of income for yacht clubs and businesses along the sea front, these civil servants will still be collecting their best mid-year bonuses in past 5 years. All civil servants will receive in July half a month's salary plus one-off payment of $300. For the typical minister, the windfall is a cool $80,000++. You don't want to know how much extra the Prime Minister will be collecting. Meritocracy rules.

The oil pollution has now hit the Chek Jawa wetlands on Pulau Ubin, which is home to unique ecosystems and the last refuge of several plants and animals once upon a time common in Singapore. 700m of Changi Beach is now affected by the eco-disaster, and is now closed to swimmers. According to Malaysian press, the oil slick has also reached Teluk Ramunia on the south-eastern tip of Johor.

NEA chief executive Andrew Tan said, "We cannot contain 100 percent of the oil spill out in the open ocean." That sounds eerily similar to the final word on terrorist Mas Selamat's escape from the Whitley Road Detention Center, "What to do? Happened already." Well, they could have sought help from BP experts working on a similar problem. And declining acceptance of the fat bonus payout for a job not very well done is worth considering.

20 volunteers from environmental group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society combed East Coast Park, and found more than 80 oil-slicked creatures dead and alive, including jellyfish, crabs, peanut worms and starfish. NEA said it will assess the impact on marine life only after the clean-up is complete. "Our main effort is returning life to normalcy so that members of the public can go back to the beaches - the safety to the public is what 's most important right now," said NEA chief executive Tan. Makes sense, the marine life don't pay taxes that fund mid-year bonuses for civil servants.

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