Oil spill continues to cause ‘sleepless nights’ for Negrenses

September 16, 2006

By Danny B. Dangcalan
Sunstar Bacolod

GOVERNOR Joseph Marañon Friday said Negrenses continue to have “sleepless nights” knowing that the sunken tanker, with more than 1 million liters more of remaining oil, may very well be a bomb ready to explode anytime.

Marañon maintained his stand to salvage or re-float the sunken tanker so the remaining bunker fuel will be safely contained.
Negros island though is still safe from the spillage as no oil spill sightings in Negros territorial waters have so far been reported as of Friday by the Provincial Task Force Oil Spill area coordinating center.

Tanker M/T solar 1 sank off the waters of Guimaras strait on August 11.

Marañon’s comment was a reaction to the reported stand of the National Government was to siphon the remaining oil from M/T solar 1.

Gov. Joseph Marañon wants to know when the remaining bunker oil of the sunken Solar 1 be siphoned. He said mere assurances from Task Force Guimaras are not enough.

Presidential Adviser for Western Visayas Rafael Cosculluela had informed Marañon of the siphoning.

The governor said he welcomed the information, but wanted a timetable for the siphoning.

“As long as that thing (sunken Solar 1) is out there, I am not satisfied (with mere assurances,” said the governor.

Holes could be drilled in the tanker’s fuel tanks through which tubes can be inserted to siphon out the bunker fuel. But the plan still has to get the approval of the International Oil Pollution Compensation, said IOPC representative Joe Nichols.

During the siphoning, “there is little risk of a significant release of oil from the vessel,” he added.

Nichols said the IOPC could choose between at least six companies from Norway, Italy, and The Netherlands to take out the remaining oil from the tanker.

The Philippine Coast Guard favors the siphoning. If the PCG-recommended Norwegian company – Framo Engineering – would be hired to siphon the remaining bunker oil, it would take at least one month for it to arrive in the Philippines.

The PCG recommended the Norwegian company, citing its experience and knowledge in handling such cases.

The decision to siphon was based on the video footage recently taken by the Japanese survey vessel Shin Sei Maru. The tanker, some 600 meters beneath the surface, appeared stable. with Ryan B. Lachica, Panay News

(For the full story, click Sleepless nights, Sept. 16, 2006.)


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