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Chemicals sprayed to control oil spill

August 27, 2006

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NUEVA VALENCIA, Guimaras – Coast guard and private contractors sprayed large amounts of chemical dispersant on a massive oil spill in the Visayas in a last-ditch effort to keep it from spreading, officials said Sunday.

However, a coast guard official conceded they did not know if they could contain the spill from the Solar I tanker because they have not yet determined if the tanker is still leaking oil more than two weeks after it sunk off Guimaras island.

“Because we’re not able to control the spill we have to continuously spray during daytime. That is the only thing that has helped a lot in keeping the oil from reaching the shoreline,” said local coast guard commander Harold Jarder.

“The threat is still there. We are not even sure how much of the oil has been spilled,” he added.

Jarder said it was a “necessity” that an underwater survey be conducted on the Solar I, which is lying some 640 meters (2,112 feet) underwater around 13.3 nautical miles south of Guimaras, beyond the reach of human divers.

The vessel went down in rough weather on August 11. Two crew men are still missing.

Some 50,000 gallons of oil has leaked from the tanker and environmentalists fear that the remaining 450,000 gallons of oil still in the Solar 1’s hold might also leak out. (AFP)

(Originally published on the ABS-CBN News web site. For the rest of the story, click here. Photo “borrowed” from the INQ7.net web site.)

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