Mindoro oil spill report probed by Coast Guard
09/05/2007 | 09:25 AM
A year and a half after bunker fuel smeared the pristine beaches of Guimaras province, a new oil spill threatened a coastal resort town in Southern Luzon.
Initial reports reaching the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Wednesday indicated that the latest spill took place off Maestrodecampo Island off Pinamalayan town in Mindoro Oriental.
“The reports indicated that the oil spill happened during salvaging operations for a vessel that sank 30 years ago. We are verifying details on how the oil spill happened,” Lieutenant Senior Grade Armand Balilo, Coast Guard spokesman, said in Filipino on dzBB radio.
He cited raw information as saying that the M/V Mactan was the vessel that was being salvaged. He said it was possible that the vessel contained oil.
However, Balilo said they have yet to determine if the oil that spilled was bunker fuel. He said the Coast Guard has sent an oil spill response team to the area.
“The team will get water samples. If it is bunker fuel, we’ll have to put an oil spill boom in place,” he said.
An oil spill boom is a floating barrier that helps contain bunker fuel on water.
Balilo said the Coast Guard received reports from residents in the area and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as early as Tuesday night.
Pinamalayan is a second-class town in Oriental Mindoro, with a population of 72,951 people in 14,326 households. It is known for its beach resorts.
In August last year, the ecology in Guimaras and nearby provinces was disrupted after the ill-fated M/V Solar I tanker bringing bunker fuel from Bataan sank off 7.5 nautical miles off the province’s Unisan Island.
The incident resulted in the worst marine ecology disaster in Philippine history.
Guimaras had been an eco-tourism attraction featuring several beach resorts before last year’s oil spill.