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DENR: 1,500 hectares of ecosystem damaged by Guimaras oil spill

September 22, 2006

By Katherine Adraneda
The Philippine Star 09/22/2006

THE sinking of the ill-fated M/T Solar I last month that resulted in the worst oil spill in Philippine history off Guimaras island has affected at least 1,500 hectares and various ecosystems in two provinces in the Visayas, including a marine reserve of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

As this developed, the “Task Force Solar I Oil Spill” revealed in a report that there is “a continuing minimal rate of oil that comes out” of the sunken tanker owned by Sunshine Maritime Development Corp. (SMDC) and chartered by Petron Corp. to deliver two million liters of crude oil to Zamboanga City.

According to the report, 209 hectares of mangroves, 20 hectares of sea grass and 100 hectares of coral reefs within the 1,143.45-hectare Taklong Marina reservation in Nueva Valencia town was affected by the oil spill as of Sept. 19.

Outside the marine reserve, the report said, 171.16 hectares of mangroves, 42 hectares of seaweed and 367.29 hectares of fishpond were affected in Nueva Valencia alone.

The oil spill has also affected 257.02 hectares of mangroves and 16 hectares of seaweed in Sibunag town and 10.8 hectares of mangroves in San Lorenzo town, both in Guimaras province.

A total of 146 kilometers of coastline and 15.8 square kilometers of coral reefs were also contaminated in Nueva Valencia and 74 kilometers of coastline in Sibinag were affected by the oil spill.

The task force also delivered the latest damage report for the province of Iloilo: 10.34 kilometers of coastline in the town of Ajuy and 4.5 kilometers of the coastline in the town of Concepcion.

“Continuous surveillance, containment, recovery and cleanup operations are being undertaken by (task force) members,” the report said.

The cleanup efforts have covered a total area of 215.074 kilometers in Guimaras, yielding 1,633.73 metric tons of debris, the report said.

A total of 95,819 sacks of collected “dirty oil” debris from various affected barangays in Guimaras have been loaded on barges at the Cablangan Wharf.

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