Beachfront shops at Sentosa, East Coast Park face thinner crowds, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Beachfront shops at Sentosa, East Coast Park face thinner crowds

Beachfront businesses have taken a hit after thick sheets of black oil washed up on coastlines around Singapore, following an oil spill at Pasir Panjang Terminal on June 14.

Some are faring worse than others, even as the massive clean-up operation advances.

Water sports companies have suspended all sea activities indefinitely as large swathes of the soiled East Coast Park coastline have been cordoned off and swimming banned at Sentosa’s Tanjong, Siloso and Palawan beaches, they told The Straits Times.

“The crowd at the beach today is less than half the usual size,” said Mr Max Ong, assistant general manager of Aloha Sea Sports Centre.

It rents out water sports equipment, runs classes, and operates a cafe, which has been “very quiet” because of the beach closure, with a 50 per cent plunge in walk-ins, said Mr Ong. A steep drop in takings is expected for as long as the oil slick remains, he added, though the “damaged beach” is the sadder sight.

Ninja Kayakers Foilers also scrapped an eFoil – a kind of motorised surfboard – class at East Coast Park on June 16.

The outing has been postponed indefinitely, said founder Clarence Chua. “Nothing on this scale has happened since we started up in 2019,” he added. “It’s troublesome.”

The water sports company is expecting about $2,000 in losses if the situation drags on and postponed classes have to be cancelled, he added, though activities should continue in the clean northern waters.

However, restaurants at Marine Cove in East Coast Park are already recovering as the stench following the incident begins to lift.

A supervisor at one restaurant, who asked to remain anonymous, said business has picked up after the blow on June 15, which took $5,000 off the eatery’s typical daily revenue. “The crowd is better today. Reservations are better, too,” he said on June 16.

At Sentosa’s beach clubs, cancellations have been streaming in, with some patrons repelled by the “petrol station-like” odour.

But Rumours Beach Club at Siloso – which logged at least six same-day cancellations on June 16 – is holding up well, said club manager Gilbert Goh.

“It’s Father’s Day and the eve of a public holiday, so the crowd is still okay. We’re a family-friendly establishment and we’ve got a balloon-sculpting activity for the kids,” he said.

The mood is cheery, with customers still going for dips in the swimming pool, added Mr Goh, though the morning crowd was a little sparser than it should have been for a long weekend.

“It’s not so bad,” he said.

At 2.20pm on June 14, Netherlands-flagged dredger Vox Maxima struck a stationary Singapore-flagged bunker vessel at Pasir Panjang Terminal, causing oil to leak from its damaged cargo tank into the sea – less than 10km from Sentosa island.

Tidal currents deposited the oil along the shorelines at Sentosa, Labrador Nature Reserve, the Southern Islands, Marina South Pier and East Coast Park, the authorities said in a joint statement on June 15.

There have been no further leaks since the evening of June 14 and all escaped oil has been treated with dispersants, they added.

A contingent of 18 response craft was deployed to contain and clean up the spill, added the statement by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, National Parks Board, National Environment Agency and Sentosa Development Corporation.

As at June 15, close to 1,500m of container booms had been set up, with absorbent booms in place to sop up encroaching oil at Berlayer Creek and the Rocky Shore at Labrador Nature Reserve.

As a precaution, oil-absorbent booms were also deployed at West Coast Park – an unaffected area – to protect mangroves at the Marsh Garden.


In his updates on June 16, National Development Minister Desmond Lee said the beachfront at areas B to H of East Coast Park remains closed for professional clean-up works. During his visit to the park in the afternoon, he saw oil slick on the beaches as the tide receded, he added.

“The rest of East Coast Park such as the F&B (food and beverage) outlets and park tracks are open. However, the public is reminded to keep away from the beaches and waters.”

He added that the promenade at Labrador Nature Reserve has been reopened to the public, but access to the shore and jetty remains closed.

  • Additional reporting by Ng Sor Luan

This morning, some volunteers from the Friends of the Marine Park joined my colleagues to do a survey of the Southern...

Posted by Desmond Lee on Saturday, June 15, 2024
Oil spillssentosaWater pollutionWILDLIFE