BMI evidence shows oil pilferage cause of Solar I sinking

September 12, 2006

By Edu Punay
The Philippine Star 09/12/2006

A HOLE in the hull of the tanker Solar I, which investigators believe was used for pilfering oil from its cargo hold, might have caused its sinking and resulted in the Philippines’ worst oil spill.

Commodore Benjamin Mata, vice chairman of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)’s Special Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI), said they are now looking into that theory after finding a triangular opening in the hull during an underwater survey of the wreck by a Japanese submersible.

Mata said BMI members also found marks just below the opening, “which indicate there must have been a barge or small boat that came alongside the vessel.”

“One of our objectives is to determine if there was really oil pilferage. The company, the captain and crew have all denied doing this practice and yet we see from the video footage taken in the survey that there are some (pieces of) evidence of ships coming alongside the Solar I. This is what we are looking for,” Mata told reporters on the last day of hearings.

The BMI is also looking at other possible angles after the Japanese submersible had also found that one of Solar I’s storage tanks was empty.

“It could be the bunker oil in this tank, which had been discharged and transferred to another vessel. These are all guesses we are making but they are something to ponder upon,” Mata stressed.

The BMI is expected to submit its findings today following a two-week inquiry.

(For the full story, click Pilferage, Sept. 12, 2006.)



  1. im a naval architechture student and we are researching for some pictures or diagram, like what sen.jamby madrigal provided when she presents her report about the MT Solar1….can i ask for a copy of those visual aids? it will be a big help in my re4search work exactly having the same topic. The MT Solar1

  2. Ericson, you can just click on the photos on this site and save on your computer, or go to the source of the diagrams/maps as identified in the blog posts, then download.

    This site is not meant to be a replacement for good old honest research on your end. Good luck in your assignment.

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