Raps readied as damage seen in Pangasinan corals
DAGUPAN CITY—Mayor Alfonso Celeste of Bolinao town, Pangasinan province, said a suit for damages was being readied against the owner of the oil tanker that ran aground on a coral reef area there on Sunday. The Bolinao council also authorized Celeste to impound the vesselthat had been stranded in the break – water along the coastline of Barangay Patar. The Hong Kong-registered Chemitec oil tanker came from Brunei and was headed to China when it experienced engine failure, causing it to run aground about 500 meters from Patar Beach. The vessel, which was transporting raw petroleum products, ran into the fossil corals in the area, according to a report from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). The tanker is manned by 26 crew members who are mostly Chinese, PCG officials said. No amount yet Lawyer Ayar Montemayor, secretary of the town council, said no amount had been set yet for the fine that would be imposed on the tanker owner. He said they would wait for the final assessment of the regional office of the Environ – ment Management Bureau on the extent of damage on the fossil and live corals. “The local government has requested the help of the UPMSI (University of the Phil – ippines Marine Science Insti – tute) for technical support and valuation of damage,” he said. UPMSI operates a marine lab – oratory in Bolinao. No oil spill from the tanker had been detected yet, Monte – mayor and PCG officials said. The high tide on Wednes – day failed to refloat the vessel and the owner should safely remove the tanker from the breakwater to avoid further damage, Montemayor said. The breakwater protects the town from storm surges and tsunami. “Once the corals are destroyed, there would be disastrous effects on the town during calamities,” Celeste said.
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