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Coast Guard chief leads team to assess oil spill in Cebu

March 27, 2007

By Barbara Mae Dacanay, Bureau Chief
Gulf News, March 27, 2007

Manila: The head of the Philippine Coast Guard led a team yesterday that will assess the oil spill caused by a Japan-registered ship, a senior official said.

The ship caught fire while undergoing repairs in a shipyard in Cebu, central Philippines.

“Coast Guard commandant Vice-Admiral Damian Carlos was worried because of reports that fishermen in Toledo City have been complaining that oil slick has started to damage their fishing nets,” said Coast Guard spokesman Armand Balilo.

“The commandant does not want a repeat of the oil spill in Guimaras last year,” said Balilo.

A car transport ship of Tsuneishi Heavy Industries Cebu Inc caught fire at 10pm on Friday. The fire was extinguished by 3am on Saturday.

11 villages affected

Fishermen in Sto Nino village noticed the oil spill at 6am on Saturday.

“The ship might have leaked as a result of the fire, which started in vessel’s engine room,” said fire officer Ben Diotay. The spill spread out over a 150-metre radius, and has affected 11 coastal villages, said Haile Baron, village chief of Sto Nino village.

Oil spill has reached a beach near the city cemetery and a private resort in Matab-ang village in Toledo City, said Baron, adding that marine life and livelihood in these areas will be totally endangered if nothing is done about the oil spill.

“Dead fish have begun floating in our seas,” said Toledo City Mayor Arlene Zambo, adding, “The situation has worsened.”

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