News: Thai navy deployed to fight oil spill

The Star, 28 Jul 2013

BANGKOK: Thai naval vessels joined efforts Sunday to stop hundreds of barrels of oil from a pipeline leak in the Gulf of Thailand reaching the kingdom’s beaches.

Roughly 50,000 litres of crude oil spilled into the sea on Saturday about 20 kilometers (12 miles) off the coast of the eastern province of Rayong, operator PTT Global Chemical said.

The company, part of state-owned giant PTT, said 10 ships were involved in an urgent clean-up and it was confident of containing the leak.

“The aerial photos taken early morning Sunday show that the area of the spill was reduced,” the company said in a statement, estimating that up to about 20,000 litres had been cleaned up.

At the same time there were fears about the effect of the chemicals used to disperse the crude oil.

“We still have some concern about the chemical being used, even though it is clear that the oil leak will not reach the beaches or coral,” said Phuchong Saritsadeechaikol, director of the government’s Marine and Coastal Resource Conservation Center in Rayong.

Another PTT subsidiary was involved in a huge oil spill off northwestern Australia in 2009 that was the country’s worst ever offshore drilling accident.

The slick from the Montara oil field spread as far as Indonesian waters and environmentalists said it grew to almost 90,000 square kilometres (35,000 square miles).

An Australian government inquiry blamed widespread and systematic shortcomings at the oil company for the spill. -AFP

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Toksin air merah masih ada pada kerang

  Jabatan Perikanan Sabah mengumumkan bahawa sampel kerang yang dikumpul dari pelbagai tempat di  negeri ini masih mengandungi paras bahaya toksin fenomena air merah.

Pengarahnya, Rayner Stuel Galid berkata, keputusan menunjukkan bahawa tahap ketoksikan kekal memudaratkan iaitu dalam 700 MU (Unit Mouse), 300 MU lebih tinggi daripada paras yang dianggap selamat untuk manusia

“Memakan kerang yang mengandungi toksin air merah menyebabkan keracunan makanan dan boleh membawa maut,” kata Rayner.

“Hanya Jabatan Perikanan dapat mengesan kehadiran toksin dalam kerang dan ujian dijalankan di makmal khas kami. Toksin tidak dapat dikesan oleh penglihatan, bau atau rasa dan ianya tidak boleh dikeluarkan melalui cucian teliti atau memasak,” katanya.

Fenomena air merah atau Red Tide adalah istilah yang biasa digunakan untuk alga bloom berbahaya (HAB). HAB berlaku apabila koloni tumbuh-tumbuhan laut atau pertumbuhan alga terkeluar dari kawalan. Satu sel tunggal boleh menyebabkan pembiakan beberapa ratus sel-sel dan keadaan air yang sesuai akan menyebabkan pengeluaran toksin yang boleh melemahkan manusia. Bahan toksin ini membunuh ikan dan menjadikan kerang-kerangan tidak selamat untuk dimakan. Bloom ini juga sering menukarkan air menjadi merah, dengan itu istilah “air merah” pun berlaku.

Menurut Rayner, keadaan cuaca panas dan basah baru-baru ini menyebabkan tempoh fenomena air merah di Sabah berpanjangan.

Fenomena ini pertama kali dikesan pada November tahun lalu dan sampel kerang dikumpulkan dari Kuala Penyu, Tuaran, Sipitang dan pantai Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu menunjukkan tahap yang lebih tinggi racun pada Mac tahun ini.

Orang ramai dinasihatkan untuk menahan diri daripada menjual dan mengambil semua jenis kerang atau dwicangkerang seperti tiram, kupang, kerang, kepah atau krustasia seperti udang dan ketam.

Rasa semut-semut atau sensasi mencucuk dalam mulut dan lidah, sakit kepala, loya adalah tanda-tanda keracunan air merah atau keracunan paralitik kerang-kerangan (PSP). Simptom boleh bertambah dari kebas kepada kehilangan kawalan anggota badan yang membawa kepada kegagalan pernafasan.

Kesan tanda-tanda toksik adalah cepat dan gejala awal biasanya berlaku dalam tempoh dua jam selepas memakannya. Rawatan perubatan mesti segera dilakukan. Setakat ini, fenomena air merah telah mengorbankan tiga nyawa di Sabah. – Insight Sabah

Diterbitkan pada Jun 08, 2013

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貝殼類海產依然發現含有紅潮毒素

  沙巴漁業局宣佈,該局在州内多個地方所抽取的貝殼類海鮮樣本中,發現紅潮毒素依然維持在危險水平。

該局總監雷納表示,他們在經過化驗後,證實紅潮毒素依然維持在700用鼠單位(MU)的危險水平,比適合人類食用的安全水平還超過了300個用鼠單位。

“食用含有紅潮毒素的貝殼類海產將造成食物中毒,嚴重的話甚至會致命,”雷納警告說。

“只有漁業局才有能力去檢測出貝殼類海產内是否含有相關毒素,這些測試鬥士在我們的專業化驗室内進行。單靠觀察、嗅或品嘗是無法檢測出相關毒素,同時也無法透過清洗或烹飪來去除這些毒素,”他說。

紅 潮一般指的是有毒藻類爆發(HAB)的情形,而一旦海上的藻類繁殖速度到難以控制的地步時,就會爆發紅潮。該些單細胞的藻類在合適的海水狀況下,將會迅速 的繁殖,進而產生出對人體有害的毒素。這些毒素將會毒死魚類和造成貝殼類海產不適合食用。鑒于該藻類爆發時,會把海面上“染”成紅色,因此才被稱之爲紅 潮。

據雷納表示,最近炎熱和潮濕的氣候將會延長沙巴州紅潮現象的出現。

紅潮在去年11月起開始時被發現,同時今年3月在瓜拉班尤、斗亞蘭、實必丹和亞庇市沿海一帶所收集到的貝殼類海產也被發現含有高度的毒素。

公衆因此受促避免購買或食用任何貝殼類海產,如牡蠣、貽貝、蛤蜊、龍蝦、蝦和蟹等貝殼類海產。

口腔和舌頭產生刺痛感、頭痛、噁心症狀,這些都是紅潮中毒或麻痺性貝類中毒(PSP)的現象。若嚴重的話,可能或導致呼吸衰竭和四肢麻痹。

紅潮毒素發作非常迅速,在食用有毒海產的兩個小時内就會開始出現症狀,因此相關人士必須立即就醫。最近在沙巴州已有3人死于紅潮毒素。 – Insight Sabah

登載於 2013年06月08日

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Avoid shellfish in Sabah’s west coast

The Star, 22 Jul 2013

Red tide as seen from the air.Red tide as seen from the air.

KOTA KINABALU: Consuming shellfish in Sabah should still be avoided as red tide is still prevailing in waters off the state’s west coast.

Sabah Fisheries Department Director Rayner Stuel Galid said on Monday the toxic level is between 600 and 800 Mouse Unit (MU), which is a dangerous level for humans.

“This phenomenon is expected to tail off by August and people should refrain from taking shellfish especially those from Kuala Penyu and areas off Kota Kinabalu City, Sipitang and Tuaran as clam samples collected from these areas few months ago was among the highest in Sabah,” he said.

“Food poisoning and even death can result from the consumption of red tide intoxicated shellfish,” he said, adding the lowest MU unit considered safe for humans is below 400 MU.

Traders are also reminded to cooperate with the authorities by not selling the shellfish as they could risk the lives of people.

“Only the Fisheries Department can detect the presence of this toxin in all types of shellfish in our specialized lab and not by mere sight or smell,” Rayner explained.

He added that the toxin in shellfish also couldn’t be washed away even by cooking or washing repeatedly.

More than a hundred people had been warded for red tide poisoning earlier this year, while three deaths had been recorded from this deadly algae bloom.

Symptoms of the deadly algae bloom, commonly known as the red tide phenomenon, includes tingling of the lips and tongue depending on the severity of the poisoning.

Symptoms may progress to a ‘prickling of pins and needles’ sensation followed by the loss of control in a person’s arms and legs and later difficulty in breathing.

Those with such symptoms are advised to seek immediate medical attention as delay may result in death.

The red tide phenomenon was detected in November last year and was supposed to have tailed off by end of June.

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Red tide toxin in Sabah continues to make shellfish unsafe to eat

The Star, 7 Jun 2013

KOTA KINABALU: It is still not advisable to consume shellfish, as the level of red tide toxin recorded in various parts of Sabah sea continues to be high.

Sabah Fisheries Department Director Rayner Stuel Galid said the toxic level is still within 700 Mouse Unit (MU), which is a relatively dangerous level for humans.

“Food poisoning and even death can result from the consumption of red tide intoxicated shellfish,” he said, adding the lowest MU unit considered safe for humans is below 400 MU.

Traders are also reminded to cooperate with the authorities by not selling the shellfish as they could risk the lives of people.

“Only the Fisheries Department can detect the presence of this toxin in all types of shellfish in our specialised lab and not by mere sight or smell,” Rayner explained.

He added that the toxin in shellfish also could not be made safe by washing it repeatedly or by cooking.

Symptoms of the deadly algae bloom, commonly known as the red tide phenomenon, includes tingling of the lips and tongue depending on the severity of the poisoning.

Symptoms may progress to a prickling of pins and needles’ sensation followed by the loss of control in a person’s arms and legs and later difficulty in breathing.

Those with such symptoms are advised to seek immediate medical attention as delay may result in death.

The deadly red algae blood more commonly known as red tide phenomenon was detected in November last year and is expected to tail off by end of this month.

In March, higher levels of red-tide toxins were detected in clam samples obtained from Kuala Penyu and areas off Kota Kinabalu City, Sipitang and Tuaran.

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Brunei waters still affected by red tide

Borneo Post, 13 Feb 2013

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: The Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, has announced that according to latest information on February 11, 2013 Brunei waters are still affected by the Red Tide phenomenon, Borneo Bulletin reported.

Thus the ban on catching fish and shellfish from the affected areas as well as collecting dead fish and shellfish from the Brunei waters will remain in force, it said in a press statement.

As a precautionary measure, the public has been reminded to completely remove the guts, gills and other internal organs of fish before cooking and to abstain from eating small fish whose gills, guts and internal organs cannot be removed as well as Molluscan shellfish and fish from affected areas and of unknown origin.

The statement further stated that the Department of Fisheries would continuously monitor the Red Tide situation and the public, fishermen in particular, can assist the department by reporting any discolouration or any mass fish mortality in our waters and beaches by calling 2770066 (during office hours), 8614867, 8878833 or 8787337

No ‘Red Tide’ alert in Sarawak

The Borneo Post, 17 Jan 2013

KUCHING: Waters in Sarawak is free from the ‘Red Tide’ menace thus far as there had been no reports about consumers being affected, unlike in Sabah.

State Marine Fisheries Department (MFD) deputy director Bohari Leng said the only place that is of concern in the state is Lawas because it is nearer to Sabah and sharing the Brunei Bay.

As such, the Marine Fisheries Department is monitoring the situation closely by analysing water samples, shellfish and pelagic fish collected in Lawas.

“The results from these samples are expected to be out this Friday. Since early this month MFD started monitoring in Lawas,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

“We are in close contact with the Department of Fisheries Sabah with respects to assisting in toxin analysis and getting updates on the latest status of Red Tide in Sabah.”

Bohari said the Red Tide menace in Sabah started last month and thus far two deaths had been reported.

He added that the phenomenon was site specific and the first incident in Sabah was reported in 1976, and since then it had been occurring annually.

Until today, the fisheries’ industries and consumers in Sarawak had never been seriously affected by Red Tide.

Meanwhile, Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia’s state director Abdul Razak Ahmad, who was also present, said the import of shellfish from Sabah had been reduced as importers were concern about the people’s safety.

For instance, he said, only 1.3 tonnes of shellfish were brought in from Sabah last month, compared to four tonnes in October and three tonnes in November.

“Those shellfish that were brought in were not from affected areas because not all waters in Sabah are affected by the Red Tide menace,” he said, adding there had yet been any ban on certain seafood in the state.

He added that most imported shellfish were from Peninsular Malaysia. As for pelagic fishes, the state imported them from Sabah, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Indonesia.

He opined that pelagic fishes were safe for consumption because they swim freely and the level of toxin accumulated in them was not as critical as in shellfish although they might also be affected because they were plankton feeders.

Nevertheless, consumers were advised to remove internal organs and clean the fish thoroughly before consumption.

Bohari said the toxic Red Tide currently occurs in Sabah was caused by toxic plankton ‘Pyrodinium bahamense var. Compressum’. This plankton is causing Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP).

Five to 30 minutes from consumption, there is a slight tingling progressing to numbness which spreads to face and neck in moderate cases. In severe cases, these symptoms spread to extremities with in-coordination and respiratory difficulties.

There are disturbances in severe cases, evidenced by difficulty in swallowing, sense of throat constrictions, speech incoherence, or complete loss of speech as well as brain stem dysfunction.

Within two to 12 hours, in very severe cases, there is complete paralysis and death from respiratory failure in the absence of ventilatory support.

If ventilation is provided, after 12 hours, regardless of severity, victim starts to recover gradually and is without any residual symptoms within a few days.

Two in Kudat die after eating poisonous sea cucumber

Borneo Post, 4 Feb 2013

KOTA KINABALU: Two men have died after eating a poisonous species of sea cucumber in Sabah’s northern Kudat district.

State Fisheries Department director Rayner Stuel Galid said the deaths were due to the consumption of a species of sea cucumber known locally as pelanduk laut and unrelated to the red tide poisoning.

“We tested the specimen and found that the sea cucumber has its own toxin,” he said.

The men, aged 51 and 54, died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here on Thursday after they became ill from eating the sea cucumber during a meal with four other people at Kg Suangpai in Kudat.

It is learnt that the two men, who had suffered from severe vomiting, numbness and breathing difficulties, were initially treated at the Kudat Hospital on Wednesday before being transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here.

Two others who took the same meal were also treated in Kudat but they had less severe symptoms.

The toxic sea cucumber, which has black and purple dots, is found in Kudat’s Marudu bay.

Two people have so far died from red tide poisoning in Sabah since it first occurred off its shores in November in a phenomenon that is expected to last until June.

The red tide phenomenon is triggered by a deadly algae bloom, which produces toxic or harmful effects to marine life and turns the water red.

 

Red Tide detected off Labuan

Daily Express, 3 Mar 2013

Labuan: Fisheries Director Zainudin b Hj. Abd. Wahab said Red Tide poisoning was detected in Labuan waters as of 11.40am Friday near Pulau Papan which is 600m from the island. He said the survey made by the Fisheries Department found the area enclosed by the Red Tide was about three to four hectares. Samples sent to the fisheries laboratory in Likas found that the Red Tide is of the Pyrodinium bahamense var. compressum kind with a very high concentration reaching 473,600 cells/liter and this is known as “Algae Bloom”. The level considered dangerous to humans is 5,000 cells/liter. Very high concentrations will cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) of the muscles that can cause death. The Department expects the Red Tide to last for about two weeks. Chances are the red tide will be swept away towards Pulau Daat, Menumbok, Sipitang and Lawas, he said.

The public, especially Labuan residents, are advised not to eat sea products such as snails, shells and fish, especially small pelagic fish like selayang/basung and fish kembong/rumahan during the red tide season. Fish caught outside of the three nautical miles (kembong and basung), should have their gills removed and the fish washed well before cooking. The department also noted that the “bubuk” shrimp season had started in waters adjacent to Tanjung Kubung up to UMS. It is recommended that fishermen do not take and consume them because of fears of being contaminated by the Red Tide, he said.

Source: Daily Express

Three more in hospital after eating mussels

The Star, 15 Feb 2013

KOTA KINABALU: Three more people were warded at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here after consuming red tide-infected toxic mussels, bringing the number of victims to 46.

The health department expects more people who had bought the mussels at the Inanem night market here to come forward for treatment.

The red tide phenomenon claimed its third victim on Wednesday when a 23-year-old foreigner from Kampung Inanam Jaya died from suspected poisoning after consuming shellfish bought at the market.

The shellfish was said to have been sold at just RM1.50 per plastic bag.

Sabah health department director Dr Christina Rundi said: “We don’t know how many people actually consumed the clams but we advise those who ate them to seek treatment, whether or not they have symptoms.”

The initial symptoms include tingling lips and tongue, a sensation of “pins and needles” on the skin, followed by loss of control of arms and legs, and breathing difficulty.

The red tide warning was first issued by the Fisheries Department on Dec 12 last year.

The phenomenon is triggered by a deadly algae bloom, which produces toxic or harmful effects to marine life and turns the water red.

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