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Amihan ‘saves’ Cebu

September 2, 2006

THE SOUTHERN BEAT
By Rolly Espina

THE finding last Thursday that the sunken MT Solar I was in an upright position and leaning slightly on its right side lifted up the spirits of those engaged in the relief operation in the Guimaras oil spill.

But the more important thing was the discovery about the seepage of the bunker fuel, which means that coastal watchers cannot relax their guard. The oil slick, as last reported by Guimaras Gov. JC Rahman Nava, was spotted in southern Negros towns, drifting toward the Sulu Sea.

In short, as pointed out by lawyer Antonio Oposa, Visayan Sea Squadron head, the wind direction changed from habagat to amihan. That arrested the slick’s drift toward the north end of the Visayan Sea. Besides, as he added during the meeting of Visayas Mega Region governors at the provincial Capitol in Bacolod, the bulk of what they had worried about lapped up on the coastlines of four Iloilo towns.

Capt. Luis Tuason, Western Visayas PCA commander, said the finding of Shinsei Maru shortened the time in surveying the area. The ship was located some 200 meters from its last reported location.

And there were some positive news. The tanker’s upright position shows that it would be easier to assess the damage and the oil leakage than if the boat were upside down.

(Click Espina for the rest of the column published Sept. 2, 2006.)

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