Oil slick no threat to Bohol resorts–Coast Guard
PANGLAO ISLAND, Philippines—There is nothing to worry about after all.
Coast Guard and local officials have assured the public that the oil slick from a sunken vessel off the coast of this island would not pose a danger to coastal communities and nearby resorts.
“The oil sheen is not dangerous. It will dissipate. It will eventually disappear,” said Commander Agapito Bibat, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Bohol commanding officer.
The Coast Guard earlier reported that 60 to 100 liters of diesel had leaked from the sunken MV Wilcon, causing an oil sheen 50 meters long and 25 meters wide.
The Wilcon which sank off Panglao some 20 years ago was suspected to be the source of the oil leak after it may have been shaken during the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Bohol on Oct. 15.
The 4,210-ton Wilcon caught fire and sank off Panglao in 1994.
The vessel’s wreck lies around 150 meters deep off the island, a popular destination for divers and underwater photographers.
The seafloor is believed to have heaved with the force of the earthquake, disturbing the wreck and rupturing its fuel tank.
Bibat said resort owners should not worry about the oil sheen since the current was headed toward Cebu province and Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental.
Municipal Councilor Joseph Arcay told the Inquirer the municipality was planning to employ an ROV, an underwater vessel designed for technical diving that can go beyond the normal depth of technical divers of 80 meters.
“What worries us most is maybe the hull is not that safe anymore,” Arcay said.
Arcay, a technical diver himself, said they needed the ROV to determine if the Wilcon was causing the oil sheen.
“It is alarming because the oil sheen is so wide,” he said.
He told the Inquirer they suspected the oil came from the sunken vessel because of the sachets of Milo found floating in the area. The expiry date at the back of each chocolate pack was 1995.
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