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N. Sivasothi,
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Fri 03 Jun 2005

"Shell is looking at land reclamation around Pulau Ular"

Category : marine

Rather ominously, on 31st May 2005, Debby Ng of the Pulau Hantu blog, pondered about "increased activity in the channels between the Southern Islands" observed during their dive trip on 29th May 2005. She commented further that,

"A recently installed derrick was sighted at the channel between Pulau Hantu and Busing, and a dredger was observed in action in the channel that runs between Jurong Island and Pulau Sudong."

"Just when divers (and certainly animals) were relishing the power of the sun, darkness decended like an ominous cloud, bringing vis down to zero past the 7m depth and only a mere foot at 2-3m.

It is critical to realise that while this poor vis leads to but a dismal dive for us, to the coral it could very well mean death. With no light penetrating the depths past 7m, it means the Zooxanthellae cannot manufacture food, and thus coral is literally starved."

Later Debby reports this article, "Shell sees Jurong Island plants taking all output of new cracker." By Ronnie Lim, Business Times, 25 May 2005.

"As part of its design and engineering study for the cracker, Shell is looking at land reclamation around Pulau Ular - one of three small islands that make up Bukom - because there isn't enough space on the main Bukom island to build the project."

The statement reclamation around Pulau Ular and the map suggest that reclamation will join the islands of Pulau Busing, Pulau Ular and Pulau Bulom Kechil to Pulau Bukom.

Note this is an outdated map and surrounding geography has changed.

While this may not explain the lowered visibility on the 29th of May (there is plenty of dredging activity going on for ther purposes as well), it provided the Hantu divers with an ominous impression of conditions ahead if the reclamation does go ahead, and promised worse conditions if reclamation is conducted without mitigating measures.

When Pulau Sakeng and Pulau Semakau were joined to form a dumping ground for Singapore's incinerated ash, the Ministry of the Environment (ENV) instituted mitigation measures in the form of screens during construction to protect the reefs west of Pulau Semakau and south of Pulau Hantu from sedimentation.

Meanwhile, the Marintime and Port Authority of Singapore recently released Port Marine Notice No. 60 of 2005 informing the community that "Soil investigation off Pulau Ular" would take effect from 13 May - 16 Sep 2005 and three Jack up Barges, a Crane Barge, two Work Barges, two Tug Boats, four other Work Boats wuld be involved.

Debby is keen on persuading Shell to seek alternatives.

Posted at 6:08AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news