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Government closely monitors oil spill incident in Mainland
     A Government spokesman said today (August 24) that the Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (HKMRCC) was notified by the Guangdong Search and Rescue Centre (GDRCC) yesterday (August 23) at 11.32pm that due to Tropical Cyclone Hato, a few vessels were found either stranded or sunk in the vicinity of Qingzhou Island and Guishan Island in the Pearl River Estuary. Another vessel was also found to have bumped against a pier. After discovering spilled oil at the southern coastline of Guishan Island, the relevant Mainland maritime authorities arranged for vessels to conduct urgent cleanup immediately and notified the HKMRCC accordingly.
     Relevant government departments including the Marine Department (MD), the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) have been conducting inspections in Hong Kong waters and remaining vigilant in accordance with the existing mechanism. The MD has deployed launches to step up patrolling southwest of Lantau Island. The Government has also conducted aerial surveillance. No spilled oil has been found to have drifted into Hong Kong waters so far.
     The EPD, the LCSD and the AFCD have also arranged for staff members to inspect bathing beaches, fish culture zones and nearby waters (especially waters with important ecological value) at Lantau, and none of the above sites have been found to be affected so far. The Government Flying Service will also keep an eye on the situation of Hong Kong waters when discharging its duties and will refer to relevant departments immediately for follow-up if spilled oil is found.
     The MD will continue to maintain close liaison with the GDRCC to follow up on further details of the incident and the progress of the Mainland authorities in their cleanup operations so that the Government can take prompt follow-up actions as appropriate.
     The Government spokesman indicated that all relevant government departments will continue to closely monitor the incident and clean up promptly as soon as any spilled oil is found to have drifted into Hong Kong waters, so as to minimise the impact on the marine environment and coastal areas including bathing beaches.
Ends/Thursday, August 24, 2017
Issued at HKT 18:53
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