Asia

Oil spill reaches Thailand tourist beach

In this photo taken 27 July 2013, a cleaning vessel clears the oil after about 50 tons of crude oil was leak from a pipe spilled into the sea off Rayong province, eastern Thailand Image copyright AP
Image caption About 50,000 litres of oil leaked off Rayong province on Saturday

The oil spill from a leaked pipeline in Thailand has reached one of the country's popular tourism islands, officials have said.

The authorities have warned tourists to avoid oil-slicked water on Koh Samet.

A pipeline operated by PTT Global Chemical leaked on Saturday spilling an estimated 50,000 litres of oil.

Hundreds of people, including navy personnel, environment officials and villagers were battling to clean the oil from Samet's beaches.

"The top priorities right now are to get rid of the oil on the sand and the seawaters, and to make sure the spill doesn't spread to other shores," said local deputy provincial governor Supeepat Chongpanish.

"This is a very beautiful, white, sandy beach, so we want to make the spill go away as soon as possible."

Officials added that it would take some time to determine the environmental damage caused by the spill.

Some hotel guests were cutting their holiday short because of the oil spill.

"We just have to accept it. It's chaotic right now. Many people and officials are on the beach dealing with it," a hotel worker told AFP news agency.

Samet is 220km (140 miles) south-east of the capital, Bangkok.

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