Workers in white protective suits are using shovels and buckets to battle an oil spill that is spreading along the coast of a Thai resort island and could reach the mainland.
Hundreds of Thai soldiers and energy company workers worked to clean up the crude oil as it washed ashore Tuesday on several beaches of Samet Island.
Authorities said they were trying to contain the slick around the island to prevent strong wind and waves from pushing it toward the coastline of Thailand's Rayong province, several kilometers away.
The oil spill prompted many tourists on Samet to leave, raising concern about the impact on its resort industry. The island, also known as Ko Samet, is popular with foreigners and locals for its white sands.
About 50,000 liters of oil leaked into the Gulf of Thailand on Saturday from a pipeline operated by a unit of Thai state-owned energy company PTT. The leak resulted in the fourth major oil spill in Thailand's history.
PTT said Tuesday it expects to finish removing the spilled oil in three days. But environmentalists said the clean up has a long way to go and accused the company of not being prepared to deal with such an incident.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.