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MT Solar 1 siphoning readied

February 1, 2007

THE Philippine Coast Guard is releasing a salvage permit this week to Sonsub, a Singapore-based salvaging contractor, that will siphon out the bunker fuel from MT Solar 1 that sank off the coast of Guimaras in August last year, Rafael Coscolluela, Presidential Adviser for Western Visayas, said yesterday.

Sobsub, that has experience in the use of new technology for the recovery of sunken bunker fuel, is expected to start work in the last week of February , he said. The siphoning that is expected to take three weeks, should be completed by the middle of March and cost from $8 to 10 million, he said.

The Philippine Coast Guard will set the guidelines for the salvaging contactor, Coscolluela said.

Sonsub will allow the oil to rise and enter an umbrella that will siphon out the bunker fuel, he said.

The MT Solar 1 was carrying 2.1 million tons of bunker fuel when it sank and an estimated 20 percent is believed to have been released into the water leaving 1.6 million tons still at the bottom of the sea, he also said.

But he said there are some Coast Guard officers who think that there is no more oil left on MT Solar 1 because of the amount that has already surfaced.

There is a bet going around as too how much oil is actually remaining, he said.

Since starting out as an ROV company in the early 1980s, Sonsub has steadily emerged as a leading provider of subsea construction services and remote technologies, according to information posted on its web site at http://www.sonsub.com. (Carla P. Gomez, Visayan Daily Star, Jan. 31, 2007)

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