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Charges filed against shipping firm for oil spill

/ 03:29 PM August 26, 2013

A complaint for water pollution was filed by the Environment Management Bureau against the 2GO Group Inc. for the oil spill from its sunken vessel that has affected Cordova town and Lapu-Lapu City.

EMB-7 Regional Director William Cunado filed the complaint with the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) last Friday.

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He said the company violated Republic Act No. 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

The violation carries a maximum penalty of P200,000 per day calculated from the time the oil leak was discovered.

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“The amount or fee as a penalty could go as high as several millions until such time that the water quality as indicated in the water samples are already within government standards,” Cunado said in a press statement.

The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharging of any material into the water bodies which could cause water pollution or impede the natural flow of the waters.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also called both 2G0 and Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. to conduct immediate cleanup measures.

Water samples collected by EMB recorded a high concentration of oil and grease at 10,170 milligrams per liter in a water sample gathered 500 meters away from the accident area near Isla Duping.

The other four sampling sites indicated 6, 8, 11, and 3,027 milligrams per liter.   The tolerance level is 2 milligrams per liter for bathing and fishery production.

The DENR-7 computed compensation for the damage at P6.5 million for the ruined mangrove plantations in over 328 hectares in 12 barangays in Cordova town and Lapu-Lapu City.

Nine barangays in Cordova and three barangays in Lapu-Lapu City were assessed to be severely affected by the oil spill.

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An inquiry into the cause of the Aug. 16 collision of the MV St. Thomas Aquinas and cargo vessel Sulpicio Express Siete continues its fourth day today.

The Special Board of Marine Inquiry of Central Visayas said it will invite more witnesses.

SBMI chairman Commodore Gilbert Rueras said the board noticed some inconsistencies in the accounts of previous resources persons.

The crew of the cargo vessel MV Sulpicio Express Siete will be invited along with some Coast Guard personnel.

Yesterday Seaman 1st class Fritzie Pun-an of the Philippine Coast Guard said she was at the station located in Pier 3 of Cebu City to monitor radio transmissions at the time of the collision.

She said she received a call from the crew of Sulpicio Express Siete about the collision with MV St. Thomas Aquinas at 8:45 p.m. last Friday.

Pun-an then learned of the location of the collision.

She said she heard Sulpicio Express Siete contacting MV St. Thomas Aquinas to request for a port-to-port passage.

Pun-an said she didn’t hear MV St Thomas Aquinas responding to the call.

MV Sulpicio Express Siete’s Quarter master Germaine De Lima, said prior to the collision, he heard the request of MV Trans Asia 9 to overtake their vessel.

He said when the fast craft overtook the vessel, both Sulpicio and Trans Asia didn’t whistle or blow their horn in violation of Maritime Industry Authority regulations. /Joy Cherry S. Quito, Reporter

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TAGS: 2GO Group Inc., complaint, Environment Management Bureau, News, oil spill, Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB), water pollution
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