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Petron maintains no liability for oil spill

September 4, 2006

Tanker owner blames bad weather

By Tetch Torres

PETRON Corporation again washed its hands of responsibility for the oil spill that has devastated fisheries, a marine reserve and huge stretches of shoreline in Western Visayas, saying it had no direct control over the crews and captains of the vessels they charter.

Appearing before the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) special fact-finding committee on the oil spill, Petron distribution manager Rolando Salonga said: “We don’t have a direct control over the crews and ship captain of the Solar I vessel because they are hired by the ship owner. We only coordinate with the ship owner” Salonga said.

Earlier, Petron made a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange maintaining it had no legal or contractual liability for the oil spill. But following a storm of outrage from various quarters, the oil firm, in which the government and Saudi Aramco own 40 percent each, said it would not abandon Guimaras until clean-up operations are completed.

The M/T Solar I, with more than two million liters of bunker fuel, sank off Guimaras Island on August 11, triggering the oil spill. Two of the tanker’s crewmen remain missing.

Clemente Cancio, president of ship owner Sunshine Maritime Development Corporation (SMDC), also told the DoJ that bad weather was to blame for the tanker’s sinking.

(For the full story, click No liability, Sept. 4, 2006.)

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