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Editorial – Another Petron-hired vessel sinks

November 22, 2006

What kind of karma is Petron confronting? After the disastrous sinking of the tanker it had hired to transport bunker fuel sank off the coast of Guimaras on August 11, thousands – maybe a million by now – liters of oil leaked form the sunken vessel, causing untold damage not only to marine life in that island province, but also to the livelihood of residents.

Petron had then hired the MT Solar I to carry two million liters of bunker fuel. When it developed a leak and sank, the spill moved towards the island, and other neighboring towns, forcing residents of coastal areas to evacuate, and giving local officials the burden of sheltering and feeding them.

The disaster caused national concern, with people from all over the country trying their best to help in what proved to be feeble ways of stopping the wicked spill from spreading.

Petron, the company that owned the oil and the one that had hired the tanker, came in a little late in the day and gave some assistance to the victims, but, until now has failed to comply with what local officials have been agitating for – to have the leaking vessel removed, or to pump out what oil still remained in its hold in order to prevent further degradation of the waters in Guimaras and surrounding areas.

There have been glib announcements and promises about compliance which, for some reason or another, have not materialized yet.

And then, on Monday night, a barge said to be carrying 59,000 sacks of debris collected from the oil-covered areas of Guimaras, also sank near the town of Plaridel in Misamis Occidental. Now it is the people in that province, specifically that town, who are apprehensive about what the sinking could mean to their environment.

Assurances from Petron officials that no oily sheen or debris has, so far, been noted on the surface of the Misamis waters are small comfort to the people to the officials there who are aware of what harm the presence of those oily materials in their sea could pose.

Were the two sinking incidents caused by karma, or is Petron just negligent in the matter of choosing the vessels they hire for such sensitive shipments? (Visayan Daily Star, Nov. 22, 2006)

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