Spill cleanup starts, but slow as pipe malfunctions | Inquirer News

Spill cleanup starts, but slow as pipe malfunctions

/ 08:50 PM December 10, 2013

ILOILO CITY—The operation to remove the remaining bunker fuel from a power barge in Estancia town in Iloilo has started a month after an oil spill from the barge contaminated the town’s coastline.

Commodore Athelo Ybañez, Western Visayas Coast Guard commander, said the siphoning of the oil started on Saturday in Barangay (village) Botongon in Estancia.

It is being done by private contractor Kuan Yu Global Technologies Inc. (Kuan).


At least 450,000 liters of fuel would be removed from the power barge and transferred to a vessel, MT Obama,  being operated by Kuan.


Ybañez said, however, that only 100,000 liters of fuel had been transferred after the pump being used to siphon the oil from the barge to the vessel malfunctioned.

Up to 900,000 liters of bunker fuel are believed to have leaked out of the barge since Nov. 8 when Supertyphoon “Yolanda” struck Estancia, detaching the barge from its moorings, lifting it off the coast and slamming it into the coastline.

More than 2,000 residents of Barangay Botongon were evacuated since Nov. 23 after health officials had reported that the amount of the toxic substance benzene in the air reached 15 times the tolerable level.

The evacuees have been staying in classrooms and tents at Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College-West Campus, about 2 kilometers from the site of the oil spill.

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TAGS: News, oil spill, Regions

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