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Petron denies chartering sunken barge (so what else is new?!)

November 24, 2006

The Philippine Star 11/24/2006

ILOILO CITY — Nobody’s claiming responsibility for the sinking of the barge Ras, which was carrying oil debris when it sunk Monday night.

“I’m very definite about it, that Petron did not charter the barge,” Malou Erni of Petron Foundation said during a press conference yesterday, shortly after reading a press release from Harbor Star Shipping Services Inc.

Erni made her statements in reaction to Malacañang’s order for an investigation into the sinking of the Ras.

The Ras was transporting oil debris left by the oil spill in Guimaras island last August, after the oil tanker M/T Solar I sank off the Guimaras coast.

Harbor Star, owner of the Ras as well as the tugboat Vega that had been towing the Ras when the barge sank, said they were collectively contracted by the Protection and Indemnity Club (P&I Club) — one of the insurers of M/T Solar I, the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Ltd., and the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund.

The Ras was loaded with 59,649 sacks of oil-coated debris when it sank in the vicinity of Plaridel town, Misamis Oriental Monday night due to rough seas and high winds. The oil-contaminated debris, weighing approximately 600 metric tons, is composed of twigs, driftwood, rocks and sand.

Likewise, Joe Nichols and Britt Pickering of IOPC and the P&I Club, respectively, have vehemently denied chartering the sunken barge.

(The full story at Sunken barge.)

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