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Pulau Bukom Oil Refinery Fire

The Shell Bukom Oil refinery fire occurred on September 28, 2011. More than 100 firefighters and 40 appliances from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Shell’s Fire Department were deployed to fight the 32-hour blaze. At the height of the incident, the SCDF activated the Operations Civil Emergency Plan(OCEP), a national-level emergency response framework for major incidents in Singapore. At approximately 13:20 hrs on September 28, 2011, a fire started at the Shell Eastern Petroleum (Pte) Ltd oil refinery, on Pulau Bukom, an offshore island about five km(three miles) from mainland Singapore. This island houses the largest Shell refinery in the world in terms of crude distillation capacity. Responders faced a situation where the highly erratic fire had engulfed large parts of the pump house and was threatening to spread to nearby fuel storage tanks. The complexity of the blaze was compounded by the existence of different types of fires.


In Singapore, a Civil Emergency (CE) is defined as a sudden onset of an incident involving a massive number of casualties and/ or damage to property on a large scale. Such a situation is likely to pose grave implications for Singapore at the national, diplomatic or political level, and managing its consequences requires a multi-agency response. In this incident, Operation Civil Emergency (OCE) was declared at 18:30 hrs on the same day and personnel from the relevant ministries and public sector agencies were mobilised to support the SCDF in managing the incident. While the fire took 32 hours to extinguish, the entire operation lasted for eight days and involved a total of some 40 firefighting and support appliances, along with more than 100 personnel from the SCDF, Shell’s in-house firefighting team, and several public sector agencies.


Article: Crisis Response Journal

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Last updated on 18th Nov 2017