Fish kill in Guimaras linked to new oil spill
ILOILO CITY—Guimaras officials and residents have reported a case of fish kill along the coast of a village contaminated by bunker fuel from a sunken vessel.
Teresita Siason, coordinator of the Guimaras provincial risk reduction and management office (PDRRMO), said an undetermined volume of dead fish were reported in the waters off Barangay (village) Hoskyn in the capital town of Jordan.
The Guimaras PDRRMO reported that three villages were contaminated and five others are threatened by bunker fuel coming from the sunken MV Sportigo.
Siason said aside from Hoskyn, also contaminated were the villages of Rizal in Jordan and Sawang in Buenavista town. Those threatened include Santo Rosario, Magsaysay, Zaldivar, Dagsaan and Montpiller, all in Buenavista.
The MV Sportigo, carrying 28,000 bags of fertilizer, sank early Sunday in the waters off Iloilo Strait between Iloilo and Guimaras. The ship collided with another cargo vessel, MV Jehan 5, which was damaged.
The bunker fuel was believed to be coming from the storage tanks of the vessel, which were filled with 12,000 liters of bunker fuel.
The Environment Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Western Visayas has been conducting tests on water samples in the affected areas, according to EMB Regional Director Jonathan Bulos.
The Coast Guard reported that the amount of oil leaking from the vessel appeared to be decreasing but the threat of contamination remains as long as the vessel is under water, said Commodore Athelo Ybañez, Coast Guard Western Visayas commander.
Ybañez, who inspected the shoreline, said spots of bunker fuel have coated debris and rocks along a one-kilometer stretch of the coast of the capital town of Jordan.
Siason said residents, officials and volunteers are helping contain the spill by setting up improvised oil spill booms.
Siason said, however, that while the leak is “minimal,” there is still a danger of the spill getting bigger.
The improvised oil spill booms are made of bamboo poles, dagami (rice straw) and other absorbent indigenous materials.
Rex Sadaba, manager of the University of the Philippines Visayas Oil Spill Program, said that while the amount of oil leaking out is minimal, the risk of contamination of marine resources remains until the source of the pollution is removed.
Sadaba said residents along the affected coastline are having difficulty putting up improvised oil spill booms because of rough seas.
“It is better to contain the bunker fuel in the water because it would be difficult if these are already in the coastline,” he said.
Ybañez said the owner of the sunken vessel is coordinating with salvors and cleanup contractors to remove the vessel and its remaining bunker fuel. With a report by Jerome C. Aning in Manila
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