Oil slick threatens rich fishing grounds

August 25, 2006

RESIDENTS on the northeast coast of Panay, which is around 140 kilometers from where the tanker went down, have reported seeing traces of oil, the Office of Civil Defense said Friday.

Oil was also spotted off the west coast of Negros causing at least one town to declare a “state of calamity.” (See earlier post below on GMA’s declaration of a “state of calamity” in Guimaras.)

Since the tanker sank on August 11, 50,000 gallons of oil has leaked into the sea causing black sludge to be washed up on more than 300 kilometers of coastline on Guimaras. It has wrecked the island’s tourism industry and threatened the livelihood of hundreds of fishermen.

However the authorities are involved in a race against time to prevent the remaining 450,000 gallons of oil on the tanker leaking into the sea.

Surveyors from the United States and Japanese coastguards were on the scene to assess the damage and recommend how best to recover the remaining fuel before the tanks burst, the Filipino coastguard said.

A salvage vessel with a remote-controlled mini-submarine from Japan is expected to arrive in the area on Sunday.

Based on the salvage vessel’s findings, the charterer, Petron Corp., will decide whether to try to raise the tanker, or siphon off the oil.

(Originally published on the ABS-CBN news web site on Aug. 25, 2006. Click here for the rest of the story.)

TEXT or call NICK ALCANTARA, Petron chairman and CEO, and tell him exactly how you feel about his company’s dilly-dallying and seeming unwillingness to take responsibility for the damage the oil spill has wrought on Guimaras and other neighboring islands. The impact will remain for many years to come. Alcantara’s cellphone no. is 0917-898-1322.

You may also email Petron spokeswoman VIRGINIA RUIVIVAR at varuivivar@petron.com about how you want the company to be pro-active in the cleanup instead of letting their officials just cool themselves in their airconditioned offices.


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