Oil contaminates Guimaras shore anew

March 1, 2007

By Jeehan V. Fernandez
The Daily Guardian

IS GUIMARAS fast becoming a “dumping ground” of oil?

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Western Visayas is investigating how some 4-5 drums of oil contaminated the shorelines of Jordan town Monday.

PCG-6 deputy commander Eduardo Fabricante said several banca operators reported the oil contamination after they smelled foul odors emanating from Sitio Tabuc Suba, Brgy. Hoskyn, Jordan.

He said the oil slick contaminated the cove area adjacent to the Jordan wharf.

Coast Iloilo Commander Harold Jarder Sr. said they collected more than 100 sacks of oily debris from Tabuc Suba as of yesterday afternoon.

“We suspect that the oil slick might have come from illegal discharge of oil by one of the ships passing in the area. Our investigation is still ongoing to determine the cause of the oil spill,” Fabricante explained.

He said they are still waiting for the test results of oil samples taken from several ships passing by the area.

The tests will be conducted in Manila.

“The oil bilge (mixture of oil and water) samples will compared with the recovered oil debris so we can trace the violators,” Fabricante said, adding the culprit will face sanctions for violations of Marine Pollution Law.

Fabricante also discounted the possibility that the oil slick might have come from MT Solar 1 which still resting under Guimaras waters.

Jarder said they are investigating a passenger ship that was anchored near Tabuc Suba after experiencing mechanical problems.

The PCG also deployed ships to monitor the disposal of oil debris gathered from Solar 1 that sank off Guimaras Strait August 2006 while carrying more than 2-million liters of bunker fuel.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has identified Guimaras Strait a “chemical hi-way” wherein tankers carrying chemical substances are passing the area coming from the rest of Southeast Asian region to Manila – thus prone to environmental disaster.

Meanwhile, Fabricante also denied that another oil spill occurred in Pandan, Antique.

“It was a negative incident, there was no oil spill. There were no sightings of oil slick in the area,” Fabricante said.

Fabricante added PCG personnel conducted ocular inspection in the vicinity where the purported oil spill was spotted.

Fabricante said they only saw tugboat MT Django resting 550 meters southwest of Patria Point in Pandan. The tugboat suffered engine trouble while towing a barge loaded with steel bars.

He said the crew was only repairing the tugboat’s camshaft.

“The oil slick might have been reported but it disappeared in few time. It is high time that we should be more accurate. We are covering a wide area and long coastlines while we only have few personnel. Please do get the specifics,” Fabricante said.


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