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Coast Guard alters oil containment operations

September 14, 2006

By GEROME DALIPE IV
Panay News, Sept. 14, 2006

ILOILO City – The containment operations of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has been modified only in the area of the sunken tanker a day after the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) announced that the remaining bunker oil from Solar I be siphoned out.

PCG Commander Harold Jarder said the change in the clean-up operations came after they noticed a minimal discharge of oil from the tanker that sank off Guimaras Strait last August 11 due to bad weather.

“We continue spraying oil dispersants, but only at the site, not like before where our vessels would spray dispersants in the surrounding areas,” Jarder told reporters.

The NDCC and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) are both amenable to the proposal of siphoning out the remaining bunker oil from Solar I.

Jarder confirmed they stopped the operations of the Coast Guard’s five tugboats spraying oil dispersants in the areas contaminated with oil.

Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) Chief Rafael Coscolluela said bunker oil leaking from the tanker is only minimal thus; they need not hire the services of another tanker.

Coscolluela favors the proposal to suck the remaining bunker oil rather than re-float the vessel.

Task Force Solar Oil Spill in Manila is expected to decide on what option is best to be initiated on the tanker that remained 600 meters underwater, said Coscolluela.

Coscuella noted that it would take barely a month to marshal and position the ship to the area of the tanker and another two months to fully suck the remaining oil.

The Coast Guard recommended Norwegian company – Framo Engineering – to siphon the remaining bunker oil. It cited the firm’s experience and knowledge in handling such cases.

Jarder said siphoning out of oil from the tanker is a difficult task. But with the use of sophisticated and high tech facilities, such could be easily done.

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