Sea Collision...A tugboat sprays water on a burning oil tanker which cought fire after colliding with a bulk carrier about 20 nautical miles off Port Dickson on Tuesday night.

Sea Collision...A tugboat sprays water on a burning oil tanker which cought fire after colliding with a bulk carrier about 20 nautical miles off Port Dickson on Tuesday night.

The oil spill caused by the collision of a tanker and a bulk carrier in the Straits of Melaka two days ago is not serious, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas said.

He said a team led by Negeri Sembilan Department of Environment (DOE) had been formed to monitor the situation, assisted by the Marine Department, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and the state government.

“The oil spill is not serious. According to experts, the naphtha fuel carried by the tanker will vapourise after two hours of exposure to sunlight.

“Efforts are being made to ensure that there are no new oil spills,” he told reporters after witnessing a cheque presentation for the Prime Minister’s Hibiscus Award here on Thursday.

He was commenting on the collision of tanker MT Formosa Product Brick and bulk carrier Ostende Max causing a five kilometre oil spill.

The tanker laden with naptha caught fire after the collision and nine of its 25 crew were still missing.

The British registered bulk carrier with a cargo of coal had anchored off Port Dickson.

Uggah Embas said the fire on the Liberia registered tanker MT Formosa Product Brick was put out this morning.

On the award, he said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak would be presenting it to the winner here in November.

Thirty-one companies including five small and medium industries (SMI) and 26 corporations are among 78 companies vying for the premier environmental award for the private sector.

— BERNAMA