Oil spill off Johor after merchant tankers collide

By Ben Tan

KOTA TINGGI, Aug 19 — Two foreign-registered merchant tankers collided near Johor’s eastern straits, 3.2 nautical miles off Tompok Utara near Pengerang, Kota Tinggi on Thursday night, causing an oil spill.

The two vessels have been identified as a Panama-registered oil/chemical tanker Chemroad Mega and Marshall Islands-registered Sinica Graeca bulk carrier. There were no injuries or death reported.

Johor Health, Environment, Education and Information Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said the Royal Malaysian Navy’s boat KD Pendekar received information of the collision about 10.30pm.

“The position of Chemroad Mega and Sinica Graeca were 3.2 nautical miles northeast off Tompok Utara.

“Both vessels are now anchored at a location seven nautical miles southeast of Tompok Utara,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Ayub said representatives from the two tankers were at the location yesterday to assess the damage.

He said the state Department of Environment (DoE) ordered both the owners to post RM5 million as bond, pending completion of the oil spill clean-up.

The maritime authorities have detained the two vessels until the clean-up is completed. It is investigating the cause of the collision, as well as the extent of the oil spill.