Guimaras efforts shift to rehab as oil retrieval ends

April 2, 2007

By Carla Gomez, Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Visayas Bureau

BACOLOD CITY – The oil retrieval operation at MT Solar 1, which sank off the coast of Guimaras last year ended on Sunday, with less than 5,000 liters of oil recovered.

“As of today we are finished and we can guarantee that there is no more oil left on Solar 1,” said Mark Phibbs, who headed the team on board the Allied Shield vessel that conducted the retrieval of oil from Solar 1.

The amount of oil recovered showed that almost all of the 2.1 million of bunker fuel on board Solar 1 spilled when it sank amid stormy weather on Aug. 11, 2006.

Phibbs said there was no evidence to prove suspicions that the oil was taken off Solar 1 at sea before it sank. He said the seals on the cargo vessel’s 10 fuel tanks were intact.

He said they could not see if there were cracks at the bottom of the tanks that caused the leaks, because the wreck was so deeply buried in the mud. The Solar I wreck is lying 639 meters underwater 9 miles south of the island-province of Guimaras.

Technical analysis was being conducted to determine what caused Solar 1 to sink, Phibbs said.

The recovery operations ended on Sunday but the demobilization of all equipment and personnel involved in the $6 million-operation will be completed this week.

(The rest of the story at Inquirer.net.)


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