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6 months before tanker salvaging begins

September 14, 2006

THE government on Wednesday decided to siphon out the remaining bunker fuel oil from the sunken M/T Solar 1 instead of floating it to the surface.

However, a government official privy to the ongoing National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) meeting on the Guimaras oil spill said it will take at least six more months for a salvaging company to start works, considering the need to carefully draw out plan to siphon out oil from a tanker 640 feet deep below the ocean’s surface.

However, while the government is firm in siphoning oil, it is not keen on floating the sunken tanker, saying its presence underneath the ocean has no adverse effect to the environment.

Undersecretary for Research and Development Graciano Yumul of the Department of Science and Technology said the government is seriously considering spending a huge amount of money to do the job.

“The official position of the government is to siphon off the oil. Whether we will float it afterward or not, we still have not decided yet. We will siphon off the oil, even if it means spending a huge amount of money,” Yumul said.

He said the oil tanker is stable in its present location and moving it might cause a leak and further damage to the environment in Western Visayas.

Yumul added that representatives of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund, Petron Corp.’s insurer for oil spills seem to agree with the government’s decision. J. Mayuga, BusinessMirror, Sept. 14, 2006

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