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Defense chief assures sludge won’t reach Palawan, Sulu

October 8, 2006

THE head of a task force overseeing the oil spill incident in Guimaras province said the siphoning of the remaining fuel from the sunken tanker in the next few weeks will prevent the sludge from drifting toward the coastal waters of Palawan and Sulu due the easterly winds,” ABS-CBN News reported Saturday.

Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz, chairman of Task Force Guimaras, said the technical preparations for the arrival of the equipment that will be used in the siphoning operations began two weeks ago but the actual clean-up is estimated to take 30 days to finish.

Over 200,000 liters of bunker fuel had been leaked out of tanker M/T Solar 1 when it capsized in high seas of Guimaras in August, polluting coastlines, fishing grounds and mangroves in the country’s worst ecological disaster. Solar 1 is submerged in 640 meters of water.

The expenses for the siphoning operations will be shouldered by the International Oil Pollution Fund, the insurance fund for all major oil players, he said.

Meanwhile, the defense chief said that clean-up operations along coastlines have been fully completed. He added that the local community and officials are now focusing on the affected shores.

Cruz said the government plans to shell out some P1.6 billion to help in the rehabilitation of the affected areas and provide livelihood to the residents of the province. (ABS-CBN News, Oct. 7, 2006)

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