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Only 1 of 21 ‘black product’ tankers double-hulled – Marina

August 31, 2006

•‘Urgent legislation’ urged to address problems

By Joel Guinto

ONLY one of 21 tankers in the country that carry bunker fuel and other “black products” is double-hulled in accordance with international standards, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) has confirmed.

Marina administrator Vicente Suazo Jr. bared this fact at a meeting of the National Disaster Coordinating Council, chaired by Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr., in Camp Aguinaldo.

The M/T Solar I, whose August 11 sinking triggered the Visayas oil spill considered one of the worst in the country, was a single-hulled vessel but had a “double bottom,” meaning its lower portion was made of two layers of metal, Suazon said.

A double-hulled vessel, on the other hand, means the sides and bottom parts are made of two watertight layers so when the outer hull breaks, the inner hull can still protect the ship’s often hazardous cargo.

To address this problem, Cruz said “one proposal of the Marina is to require all oil tankers to be double hull by April 2008. This is the direction they are headed.”

There are a total of 214 tankers in the country, only 148 of which are operational and only 21 of which carry “black products.”

(For the full story, click INQ7.net, Aug. 31, 2006.)

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