Archive for June, 2008

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DENR units near sea mishap site told to prepare vs possible oil spill

June 26, 2008

GMANews TV
06/26/2008 | 04:43 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) personnel were instructed Thursday to keep an eye for any possible oil spill from the capsized MV Princess of the Stars passenger ferry off Romblon.

In a statement posted on the DENR website, DENR Sec. Jose Atienza Jr directed DENR personnel, particularly those “in and around Romblon,” to prepare to respond to such a scenario.

“You must be vigilant and ready to get into action at the first sign of an oil spill. We cannot afford additional environmental damages at this time when the world is racing against time to heal the earth from various environmental damages, among which is global warming,” Atienza said.

(Click here for the rest.)

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Exxon Valdez $2.5B oil spill ruling overturned

June 26, 2008

By James Vicini
June 25, 2008

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out the record $2.5 billion in punitive damages that Exxon Mobil Corp had been ordered to pay for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, the nation’s worst tanker spill.

By a 5-3 vote, the high court ruled that the punitive damages award should be slashed to a maximum amount equal to the total relevant compensatory damages of $507.5 million.

The justices overturned a ruling by a U.S. Court of Appeals that had awarded the record punitive damages to about 32,000 commercial fishermen, Alaska natives, property owners and others harmed by the spill.

In the majority opinion, Justice David Souter concluded the $2.5 billion in punitive damages was excessive under federal maritime law, and should be cut to the amount of actual harm.

Soaring oil prices have propelled Exxon Mobil to previously unforeseen levels of profitability in recent years; the company posted earnings of $40.6 billion in 2007.

It took Exxon Mobil just under two days to bring in $2.5 billion in revenue during the first quarter of 2007.

(Click here for the rest.)

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250K liters of oil threaten to spill out of sunken ship

June 26, 2008

By Jojo Robles
Mla. Standard Today
June 25, 2008

AN OIL spill from the Sulpicio Lines ferry that capsized June 21 with more than 800 people on board could destroy coastal areas and aquatic life around Sibuyan and nearby islands and take years to clean up.

The m/v Princess of the Stars was carrying 250,000 liters of bunker fuel in its hold when it capsized near Sibuyan Island in Romblon at the height of typhoon Frank early Saturday, sources close to the investigation of the sinking of the ferry told Standard Today.

A team of investigators who flew over to inspect the overturned hull at close range said small quantities of the fuel had already leaked out of the disabled vessel, indicating that most of the toxic cargo was intact.

“There is evidence that some of the fuel is leaking around the vessel,” a source told Standard Today.

“But if the ship breaks up on its own or is forced open by rescuers looking for survivors, the oil could leak, damaging the environment and destroying the livelihood of fisherfolk in the area for years to come.”

Earlier, rescuers announced that they were planning to force open the hull of the Princess in an effort to find survivors. As of yesterday, only about 48 of 849 passengers and crew on the ship had survived, authorities said.

Divers retrieved only bodies from the capsized vessel yesterday and the Coast Guard said more were likely to be brought in over the next hours.

“Most of the bodies were floating inside. They were trapped when the seven-story ship suddenly tilted and capsized,” Navy spokesman Edgard Arevalo said in a radio interview.

In August 2006, the m/t Solar 1 sank in waters near Guimaras Island off Iloilo, carrying down with it 1.8 million liters of bunker fuel and triggering the country’s worst oil spill.

The Solar 1 carried more fuel than the Princess, but the tanker’s dangerous cargo sank at least 700 meters in the water and several kilometers off the coast of the nearest island, minimizing its effects on the environment, the same source said.

(Click here for the rest.)

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Black substance in Carles waters creates panic

June 26, 2008

By Ruby P. Silubrico
Sun Star Iloilo
June 25, 2008

PANIC struck some locals of Carles, Iloilo after they saw a black substance scattered in the shores of their municipality.

They believed the said substance might be oil spill from a coal-carrying ship that capsized Saturday last week as Typhoon Frank hit the province of Iloilo.

The local government unit of Carles and the Bantay Dagat personnel immediately went to the area to verify the information. It was proven that the said substance was oil from the ship identified as M/V Lake Paoay from Semirara Island.

The ship capsized about 4 a.m. Saturday.

Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias Monday confirmed the ship spilled about 50,000 liters of oil when it capsized Saturday. He added that it could not damage the waters of Carles and it’s far from the Guimaras oil spill case.

Banias said the Semirara Mining Corp. chartered the M/V Lake Paoay. It was bound for Toledo, Cebu but upon arriving at the seawaters of Carles, strong winds and heavy waves hit the ship until it capsized.

“The oil in the water could not damage the seashore and there is no need to panic,” Banias said over a radio interview.

Banias said the vessel had 24 crews and other persons who also boarded the ship.

According to reports, seven of those in the ship were confirmed dead, while only 4 survived and 26 are still missing.

Banias said they now are monitoring the waters of Carles and will conduct a clearing operation.

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Mining firms want to explore Guimaras

June 24, 2008

By Maricar M. Calubiran
The News Today
June 20, 2008

Four mining companies have applied for exploration works in the the island province of Guimaras. The exploration applications cover 37,000 hectares or more than half of the island’s total land area which is 600,400 hectares.

The four mining firms are Fil Asian Strategic Resources and Properties Corporation, Dorilag Cement Corporation, Next Generation and Global Philippines. Of the four applicants, Fil Asian and Dorilag were given exploration permits by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Of the 98 barangays in the island, 84 barangays have been applied for exploration works to determine the presence of iron, copper, gold, limestones and other mineral deposits available in the island.

(Read the rest at Mining in Guimaras.)

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Guimaras chief hopes to receive additional oil spill fund

June 24, 2008

By Maricar M. Calubiran
The News Today
June 20, 2008

Guimaras Gov. Felipe Nava said they are hoping to receive additional oil spill funds from the national government. He said, of the P800 million oil spill rehabilitation fund, only P100 million was released to the province.

Nava said a team from the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) in Manila arrived in the province last week and assessed the damage brought about by the oil spill.

As far as the governor is concerned, the releases that the national government had made was the P50 million for infrastructure, P25 million for the Department of Social Welfare and Development, P2.4 for the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and more than P4 million for the Department of Health (DOH).

However, Nava is banking on the funds released to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for its cash for work program. The department has still in hand some P100 million for the cash for work program intended for the affected areas.

In one of his visits in Iloilo City, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya said the national government would only release funds on a case-to-case basis.

Andaya said they are not in a hurry to release any fund without any purpose. The fund should be spent only for rehabilitation purposes and not for anything else. There are proposals from different national government agencies that were disapproved because of its non-relevance.

He stressed out that the fund should not be spent for projects such as road construction which is not in any way related to the rehabilitation of the island as an aftermath of the August 11, 2006 oil spill. The project proponent should give exact and convincing reasons why they should be given funds.

One of those projects that were disapproved by the government is the “food for work” of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office. There is no need for the government to give allocation to the “food for work” program since the affected residents already returned to their normal lives.

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First RP-made, double-hulled oil tanker sails

June 16, 2008

By LILITA BALANE
abs-cbnNEWS.com
June 16, 2008

The first Philippine-made, double-hulled oil tanker, designed to prevent costly and environmentally-destructive oil spills such as the disaster that hit Guimaras in 2006, is now sailing.

“The ship is currently transporting bunker fuels in different parts of the country. From the Pacific Ocean to the Petron refinery in Bataan. It started last April 8. So far, the performance of M/T Matikas is far more than we expected.” George Cottrell, president of the Herma Shipyard Inc., said Monday.

Hermio Esguerra, chairman of the Herma Group of Companies, told reporters double-hulled ships such as M/T Matikas would help lower the incidence of oil spills.

Esguerra said that the ship that sank in Guimaras was a single-hulled oil tanker. With a double-hull, petroleum products are protected on all sides, he added.

(Click here for the rest of the story.)