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Probers finds Petron, tanker firm, captain liable for oil spill

September 14, 2006

GOVERNMENT probers found shipping firm Sunshine Maritime Development Corp. (SDMC), its captain, Petron Corp., and maritime officials liable for the sinking of the ill-fated MT Solar I.

The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), after scrutinizing the report of the Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI), announced Thursday that Petron was “liable of overloading” industrial fuel at its port in Limay, Bataan.

Overloading caused “instability” to the MT Solar I and “render[ed] it unseaworthy for the voyage,” the report said.

The MT Solar I was carrying some 2.2 million liters of bunker fuel when it sank off Guimaras Island in central Philippines on August 11.

Some 200,000 to 300,000 liters of oil had been spilled into the sea, devastating the coastal villages in at least three provinces. However, evidence of a continued oil leak was observed during the recent weeks.

Captain Norberto Aguro, skipper of the ill-fated tanker, was found “administratively liable of disabling lack of adequate training for oil tankers.”

The report also said Aguro failed to “exercise due dilligence in making the vessel seaworthy.”

Sunshine Maritime, meanwhile, was deemed “administratively liable for completely disregarding all mandated regulations” for the seaworthiness of vessels.

The investigators left it to the Department of Justice to determine the civil and criminal liability of the Petron, Sunshine Maritime and Aguro.

DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza directed the Marina to file charges against the three parties.

The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) and the Philippine Coast Guard, meanwhile, supposedly “committed lapses” in performing its mandated functions. –GMANews.TV

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Are you surpised? I’m not.

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