Oil spill samples match tanker’s fuel, says PCG


04:54 PM August 9th, 2013

By: Jamie Elona, August 9th, 2013 04:54 PM

A Philippine Coast Guard team check and get samples from the oil spill over the waters of Rosario, Cavite on Friday to the fuel tanker that has affected at least seven villages in the province.INQUIRER PHOTO / NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines—Samples taken from areas hit by an oil spill that stretches 300 square kilometers matched that of the diesel being used by a fuel tanker, the Philippine Coast Guard said Friday.

Lieutenant Commander Armand Balilo, PCG spokesman, disclosed this following the release of the result of a cross-matching test made by the PCG to determine if the oil spill that spread a large reddish stain over Manila Bay and in the municipal waters of Cavite province matches the fuel used by M/T Makisig.

The 34,000-barrel-capacity tanker had earlier unloaded fuel at a Petron terminal in the town of Rosario in Cavite province.

Balilo said that underwater investigations were being conducted for possible leaks in the submarine pipes of Petron.

Related story: Petron sends team to check on reports of oil spill

Oil containment booms were deployed while government experts are checking the impact on marine life, PCG environmental protection chief Commodore Joel Garcia said.

The 300-square-kilometer  slick was drifting toward the mouth of the bay Friday, Garcia said.

About 20 kilometers of coastline near the capital Manila has been affected, he added.

Asis Perez, head of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, said he has banned the harvesting and sale of shellfish from these areas until further notice.

“Fuel should not be ingested by people,” Perez said.

Garcia said the coast guard decided not to use chemical dispersants as they would poison the water, opting to let the fuel evaporate. He could not say how long this would take.

The fuel tanker and its crew have been detained and its owners will be made to pay for the clean-up if it were proven that it indeed had caused the spill, he added.

Additionally, the crew could face criminal charges unless there were “mitigating circumstances” that led to the release of the fuel into the water.

The tanker’s owners, Herma Shipping and Transport Corp, could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Related story: Cavite town in state of calamity as oil spill damages corals, threatens more towns

Originally posted at 1:49 p.m.

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