Oil spill blackens beaches on Thai holiday island

Soldiers in white biohazard suits take part in a clean-up operation at Ao Prao Beach on Koh Samet, Thailand, on July 30, 2013. Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters

An oil spill that has blackened beaches at a Thai holiday island was having an extreme impact on tourism and could spread to the coast of the mainland and affect the fishing industry, officials and an environmental group said on Tuesday.

Tourists were pouring off the island of Koh Samet, 142 miles southeast of Bangkok, while soldiers and volunteers in white bio-hazard suits struggled to clear black oily sludge off the white sand.

About 50,000 liters of crude oil poured into the Gulf of Thailand from a pipeline on Saturday, about 12 miles off the coast. Read the full story.

Crude oil that leaked from a pipeline in the Gulf of Thailand over the weekend has reached a Thai tourist resort, pipeline operator PTT Global Chemical Pcl said on Monday. Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters
Around 50,000 litres of crude oil poured into the sea on Saturday around 12 miles off the coast of Rayong, southeast of the capital Bangkok. Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters
Soldiers in white biohazard suits use special reams of paper during a clean-up operation at Ao Prao Beach. Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters
Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters
Crude oil coats popular Thai beach 0:50