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Operations to siphon off oil spill in Guimaras begin on March 8 – OCD

February 8, 2007

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
February 07, 2007

MANILA, Philippines – Operations to siphon off the remaining oil from a sunken tanker off Guimaras Island in the central Philippines will start on March 8, a disaster official said Wednesday.

“That was the window where there will be calmer weather and we don’t expect typhoons… The tentative date is March 8,” Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Administrator Glen Rabonza told a news conference in Camp Aguinaldo.

Rabonza said the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC), a world body of petroleum companies, would shoulder the cost of the operations, Rabonza said.

He said the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) would meet in the coming weeks to prepare for the operations.

The M/T Solar 1 sank into the Guimaras Strait amid stormy weather on Aug. 11, 2006, triggering a massive oil spill. Authorities estimate that at least 200,000 of the 1.3 million liters of bunker fuel it was carrying had leaked into the sea.

Petron Corp., which is partly owned by the government, chartered the ship to deliver bunker fuel from its refinery in Limay town, Bataan province to Zamboanga City.

An investigation by the Special Board of Marine Inquiry (SBMI) revealed that bad weather, overloading, and the “incompetence” of the ship captain and his crew caused the vessel to sink.

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