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DoJ’s ‘another ship’ theory, and Petron’s moro-moro

September 18, 2006

DoJ to see whether hole in tanker ‘deliberate’; Petron denies overloading
INQ7.net, ABS-CBN

THE Department of Justice (DoJ) Special Task Force on the Guimaras Oil Spill will begin looking into the possibility the hull of the M/T Solar I, whose August 11 sinking caused one of the country’s worst oil spills, was deliberately punctured during oil smuggling operations.

As this developed, Petron Corp. on Monday refuted the Board of Marine Inquiry’s findings that M/T Solar 1 was overloaded when it sank off the coast of Guimaras Island last month.

“The record will bear out the fact that the oil cargo of Petron that was loaded on Solar 1 was below the maximum load limit or capacity of the vessel per its vessel particulars,” Petron said in a letter sent to Jurisita Quintos, senior vice president of the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Luis Maglaya, Petron corporate secretary and compliance officer, said that according to records, Solar 1’s oil load before it sank was 2.19 million liters. She said the load was only 98 percent of the ship’s actual capacity of 2.24 million liters.

In a memorandum to Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, undersecretary Fidel J. Exconde Jr. said they have already summoned the Philippine Coast Guard to bring them a copy of the video of the sunken tanker taken by the Japanese salvage vessel Shinsei Maru.

Exconde said information they have received showed a remote-controlled submersible from the Shinsei Maru captured on video a triangular hole on the port side of the Solar I, scratches on different parts of the vessel and open valves on some compartments where oil is stored.

“These findings bolster the theory that another ship was traveling alongside M/T Solar I when it sank and it probably caused the triangular hole in the hull of M/T Solar I,” Exconde said.

(For the full stories, click Tanker hole and No overloading, Sept. 18, 2006.)

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