Oil spill from sunken ship affects 5 coastal villages in Cebu townBy Carine Asutilla
CEBU CITY—The oil spill from the MV St. Thomas Aquinas, the passenger vessel of 2Go that sank Friday evening after it collided with a cargo vessel, has affected five barangays (villages) of Cordova town.
In a press release, DENR-7 Regional Executive Director Dr. Isabelo Montejo said the oil spill has badly affected the seawaters off the Cordova barangays of Gabi, Catarman and Day-as.
Based on the inspection conducted by DENR, the oil spill is going towards the north east and has identified barangays Buagsong and Basbas of Cordova as the next two badly affected barangays.
Montejo urged the community to help in the clean-up of the oil to avoid severe damage to the marine ecosystem in the seawaters off the barangays.
The Environmental Management Bureau in Central Visayas had collected water samples in four sites within the accident area for oil and grease test.
Montejo also assigned a team composed of personnel from the Coastal Marine Management Division of the Protected Area, Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Services and Community Environment and Natural Resources Office of Cebu City to assess the extent of damage to mangroves in the area.
On the other hand, 2Go in a press statement assured the public that they were doing their best to handle the oil spill that had also affected the shoreline of Talisay City and other areas.
The company has engaged the services of Malayan Towage, four Japanese technical divers and expert from the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Ltd. (ITOPF).
The Malayan Towage has deployed tugboats to contain oil spill in Lawis Ledge while the Japanese technical divers would help contain the oil spill.
On the other hand, 2Go said, the expert from the ITOPF would be flying in to Cebu to help assess the situation, the statement says.
MV St. Thomas Aquinas had 20,000 liters of diesel, 120,000 liters of bunker or crude oil and 20,000 liters of lube oil. 2Go also said that the ferry was not carrying any dangerous goods when it sank.
Meanwhile, Cordova has been declared under a state of calamity on Monday because the oil spill has affected the livelihood of its fishermen.
According to fishermen in the area, all their catch were coated with oil that it can no longer be sold or eaten. The town will use its calamity fund to provide assistance to the fishermen and their families.
Mayor Adelino Sitoy of Cordova, the Philippine Coastguard, 2GO management, and Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide will meet to come up with solution to the oil spill.