oil spill

A shovel sits in oil-covered sand at Ao Phrao beach

Nicolas Asfourni/AFP

A shovel sits in oil-covered sand at Ao Phrao beach as volunteers work to clean up the area after a major oil slick hit the island of Ko Samet in Thailand. Environmentalists accused a Thai energy company on Tuesday of understating the extent of the pipeline leak as the navy warned the oil slick might reach the mainland. Tourists were leaving the resort island of Ko Samet as workers in protective suits used hoses, buckets and shovels to clean up blackened sand and oil which washed ashore on the once-idyllic beach.

Thai workers in protective clothing clean up crude oil after it was washed ashore at a beach of Ko Samet Island.

Narong Sangnak/EPA

Thai workers clean up crude oil after it was washed ashore at a beach on Ko Samet Island, Thailand

Thai workers in protectice clothing clean up crude oil after it was washed ashore at a beach of Ko Samet Island, a popular tourist destination in Rayong province, Thailand, 30 July 2013. An oil spill caused by an offshore pipeline leak on 27 July has released about 50,000 liters of oil into the Gulf of Thailand, which has now reached Samet Island. Thai tourism authorities closed a beach on Ko Samet in the Gulf of Thailand on 29 July after the oil polluted the beach.

Narong Sangnak/EPA

Thai workers in protectice clothing clean up crude oil after it was washed ashore at a beach on Ko Samet Island, a popular tourist destination in Rayong province, Thailand on Tuesday.