PCG sends teams to Ilocos vs oil spill

March 22, 2007


FEARING another environmental disaster, the Philippine Coast Guard has sent environmental protection teams to Ilocos Norte to the area where a cargo ship sank Wednesday.

Radio dzBB reported Thursday that the Coast Guard sent an environmental management team and an oil spill response team to the site to check for possible damage to the environment.

It said Coast Guard spokesman Lt. S.G. Armand Balilo is not discounting the possibility that oil may have leaked from the sunken Panamanian-registered cargo vessel “Unicorn Ace.”

At least one crewman was found dead and five others still missing after the “Unicorn Ace” sank in the South China Sea off Ilocos Norte Wednesday morning.

Rescued were at least 13 crewmembers of the ill-fated vessel, even as teams from the Coast Guard, Philippine Navy and Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Center continue to conduct search-and-rescue operations.

Only last August, the cargo vessel Solar I sank off Guimaras in the Visayas, leaking more than 200,000 liters of fuel into the waters.

That incident, which involved oil owned by Petron Corp., threatened the environment of Guimaras province and of neighboring Iloilo province in Western Visayas.

Efforts to recover the oil off Guimaras Strait started only last March 14.


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