Senate inquiry…Day 1

August 28, 2006

By Veronica Uy

(UPDATE) PETRON Corp., which owns the more than two million liters of oil that sank along the Guimaras Strait in early August, assured a joint congressional hearing on Monday that it would do everything “humanly possible” to clean up the oil spill that has destroyed marine life in the area and the livelihood of its residents.

At the same time, the owner of the MT Solar I, said the tanker was insured for 250 million dollars to 300 million dollars, which “amply covers” the expenses that will be incurred from the operations.

Jose Jesus Laurel, Petron vice president for legal and external affairs, told a joint congressional oversight committee on clean water the Protection and Indemnity Insurance and the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund would shoulder the bulk of the cost from hauling the ship from under the sea.

Laurel said Petron “would do everything humanly possible” to clean up what has been reported to be the worst oil spill in the country.

“We’re amply covered,” said Clemente Cancio, president of Sunshine Maritime Development Corp., which owns the MT Solar I.

Laurel said that 62 kilometers of the contaminated shorelines have been cleared by more than 1,000 people who were hired for the clean-up operations.

“We assure everybody that we will be there to restore the natural beauty of Guimaras no matter the cost,” Laurel said, adding even if the cleanup would take three to five years or longer.

In their presentation, Petron said 2.19 million liters of oil was in the tanker that sank on August 11.

Jimmy Baban of the Guimaras provincial planning and coordination office said 23 of the 53 coastal villages were directly affected by the oil spill. He said Guimaras had 98 villages.

Baban said a total of 3,918 families made up of about 26,000 people were fisherfolk whose catch could not be sold.

“Thirty families have been recommended for evacuation for the unbearable smell,” Baban said.

(Originally published on INQ7.net, Aug. 28, 2006. Click here for the full story.)


One comment

  1. Who really owns MT Solar I? Can somebody please check with the SEC who are the incorporators of this firm. Do they really have the resources to buy a ship. There are two theories about the real owners. One is a Japanese national, which is not allowed by law. And the other is that it is owned by officers of Petron through a dummy. That’s why Petron is not strict on hiring the more expensive double hull oil tankers. Remember the two oil spills, Guimaras and Semirara, were both caused by ships chartered by Petron.

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