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BREAKING NEWS!!! (with updates) Barge with Guimaras debris sinks off Ozamis

November 21, 2006

From GMANews.TV, Nov. 21, 2006

FEARS of another environmental disaster were raised anew Tuesday morning after a barge carrying debris from the Guimaras oil spill sank off Misamis Occidental Monday night.

The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) said the incident took place at 10 p.m. Monday, when the barge was carrying debris cleaned up from Guimaras.

Radio station dzEC reported that a tugboat was towing the barge when the barge suddenly sank. It was not immediately clear what caused the sinking.

Marina did not immediately say if there were casualties in the sinking, or how much debris the barge was carrying when it sank.

Sketchy initial reports showed the sinking occurred off Ozamis City, classified as a second-class city with 110,420 people in 22,170 households.

In August, an environmental nightmare stalked residents of Guimaras after an oil tanker commissioned by Petron Corp. sank off Guimaras Strait August 11.

The tanker Solar I was carrying some two million liters of bunker fuel when it sank.

(UPDATE) FROM ABS-CBN News, Nov. 21, 2006

A BARGE carrying oil debris siphoned near Guimaras Island sank in waters off Plaridel, Misamis Occidental Monday night.

Petron said the barge Harbor Star was carrying sacks of oil debris from Guimaras when it sank four nautical miles from Plaridel around 11:10 p.m.

The barge, which was contracted by Petron and the International Oil Pollution Commission, was bound for the Holcim Plant in Lugait, Misamis Oriental when it encountered strong waves.

Capt. Luis Tuazon, an official of the Philippine Coast Guard Western Visayas District, said the barge was carrying around 59,000 sacks of oily debris. Authorities have yet to determine the whereabouts of the crew as of posting time.

Petron management said it will take charge of the response to the incident.

“We are already monitoring the area and have mobilize equipment to deal with any contingency. A tugboat is patrolling the same site now and no oily sheen or debris on the surface,” a Petron statement said. With a report from ANC

(UPDATE #2) Greenpeace statement on another Petron disaster-in-the-making

Greenpeace campaigner Beau Baconguis said: “Whether this latest incident is due to gross negligence or plain stupidity, Petron must be held accountable by the Philippine government to the fullest extent of the law. Petron has yet to fully answer for its disastrous oil spill in Guimaras, but here it is again with another environmental disaster in the making. This is truly deplorable, and betrays once again Petron’s serious lack of diligence in ensuring that the company’s operations are safe and secure.”

(UPDATE #3) FROM ABS-CBN News

Joey Campos, Petron’s vice-president for marketing, said the barge will unlikely pose a danger because it was carrying sand, small rocks and tree branches stained with oil, not in liquid form.

“We are quite confident that there will be no damage but nevertheless while we are confident we feel it proper to mobilize our oil spill equipment in the remote possibility that [the oil will surface],” he told ANC.

He said the bags containing the debris were carefully sealed before the barge left Guimaras.

Campos said the barge, which is lying 250 meters under water, will no longer be salvaged since it “poses no danger to the environment or any community in the area.”

He said that the sunken barge was the last one to leave Guimaras, adding that it was its second trip when it capsized. He added that the company will also seek the help of experts to assess the situation in the province.

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AND it’s Joey Campos to the rescue! No dice this time dude. It’s exactly this very laid-back attitude of Petron officials that got them in trouble in the first place. Can the GMA government again turn its back on this latest accident of its favored oil company? Should it even be called an accident?

Obviously, there has been a lot of neglect and incompetence in the way Petron deals with its barge contractors. Since Solar I sank, wasn’t anyone at Petron bright enough to ensure that the barge operators the company gets have seaworthy vessels?

Or maybe it really wasn’t the barge operators fault. Perhaps, as we’ve been told by a reliable source, Petron has been deliberately overloading the barge carrying the debris. How many times do barges have to sink ’til someone in Malacañang gets the point that maybe, it’s time to crack the whip over at Petron? Move over Nick!

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One comment

  1. […] Because the cosmos has a bizarre sense of humor: Barge carrying sludge collected from the oil spill in Guimaras sinks in Misamis. […]



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