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Board ends oil spill probe

September 14, 2006

By Leila Salaverria
Inquirer

REPRESENTATIVES from the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) yesterday defended the amount of load it allowed the Solar I tanker to carry, saying that it was still within allowable limits.

But a member of the Special Board of Marine Inquiry (SBMI) believed that letting the Solar I carry more load affected its stability and contributed to its sinking on Aug. 11 while loaded with 2.1 million liters of bunker fuel oil.

The incident caused a massive oil spill that affected the provinces of Guimaras and Iloilo.

Marina naval architect Carlos Odi testified yesterday that the tanker’s Marina-approved freeboard, which refers to the distance between the main deck of the vessel and the portion of it level with the water line, was within the allowed limit and also let the tanker carry more load and earn more revenue.

The Marina-approved freeboard was lower than that specified by private classification society Bureau Veritas, which had inspected the tanker. A higher freeboard means there should be less load on the vessel.

(For the full story, click Board ends probe, Sept. 13, 2006.)

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