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Italian firm to begin oil offloading operations

February 19, 2007

By Ronilo L. Pamonag
The News Today, Feb . 19, 2007

THE Italian firm hired to offload the remaining bunker fuel from sunken tanker Solar I is expected to commence operations at the end of February.

Carlos Tan, Petron Corporation spokesperson, told The News Today Friday that representatives of Sonsub are already in the country to finalizing matters regarding the offloading operation.

“We expect them to mobilize by last week of February,” Tan said. Presently, Sonsub is loading equipment to be used for the offloading operations to its ship Allied Shield, Tan said.

Sonsub is also talking to local tugboat operators for their assistance in the offloading of oil.

“They’ll be bringing in only one ship, and will hire local tug operators,” Tan explained.

Representatives of insurance firms – the Protection and Indemnity Club and the International Oil Pollution Compensation – are also scheduled to arrive in Manila soon to sit down with Sonsub representatives.

Tan said that P&I Club and the IOPC will be paying for the operation to remove oil from the sunken tanker, now lying underwater off the coast of Guimaras. Its sinking last August due to rough seas triggered the country’s worst oil spill. Petron hired the vessel to transport two million liters of bunker fuel to Zamboanga when it sunk in rough seas.

Over a million liters is estimated to be remaining the in the tanker’s ten cargo holds.

It was agreed that offloading operations would be conducted next month because of the favorable weather.

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