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Sunken MT Solar 1 won’t be salvaged nor refloated

April 2, 2007

ILOILO City – “We have to say goodbye to the sunken MT Solar 1 for it cannot be salvaged and refloated anymore,” said Task Force SOS chairman, Secretary Rafael Coscolluela.

Only about 5,000 liters of bunker oil were recovered from the sunken vessel off Guimaras waters by hired vessel Allied Shield of Sonsub of Singapore out of the 2.1 million liters carried by MT Solar 1 when it sank off Guimaras’ waters last August 11, 2006.

Coscolluela said there were 10 oil tanks of the sunken MT Solar I that were checked for remaining oil by Allied Shield’s equipment. Each tank had a 210 liters capacity.

At 7:18 a.m. yesterday, the oil recovery vessel Allied Shied had returned and docked at the Bredco port in Bacolod City, said Carlos Tan, Petron Health, Safety and Environment manager.

Coscolluela said the oil recovery vessel arrived in Bacolod City on March 10 and immediately started operation. Sonsub was paid P10 million per day of operation or about P200 million for its work.

It was reported earlier that the insurer Protection and Indemnity Club (P&I) has allotted some US$ 10 million for the operation in Guimaras.

The TF SOS chair said the oil recovery operation was needed to ensure that no further damage will incur to the environment caused by the oil spill.

Commodore Arturo Olivario of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and member of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), said the PCG established a one-kilometer exclusive zone at ground zero during the oil recovery operations.

Bantay Dagat vessels were intercepted on March 15 and March 19 and another fishing vessel on March 24 while Allied Shield was working in the area.

PCG contingency plans included oil spill response tugboats equipped with oil dispersants, oil skimmers for mechanical recovery of oil and spill booms for containment. An aircraft equipped with airborne dispersant capability was also monitoring the area. (Panay News, April 2, 2007)

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