Clean-up of oil spill in MisOr coastal villages ongoing

By : Jigger Jerusalem Mindanao Today/11:59:19am 04/20/2021


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Barangay volunteers of Lower Jasaan, Jasaan town, Misamis Oriental, clean up oil that was spilled when a cargo ship sank Saturday morning, April 3. (Photo by Sabas Tagarda Jr.)


THE clean-up initiative of residents in at least four barangays in Jasaan town, Misamis Oriental affected by the oil spill caused by the sinking of an old cargo ship is ongoing as local government leaders have teamed up with national agencies in addressing this environmental accident.


By Jigger J. Jerusalem
THE clean-up initiative of residents in at least four barangays in Jasaan town, Misamis Oriental affected by the oil spill caused by the sinking of an old cargo ship is ongoing as local government leaders have teamed up with national agencies in addressing this environmental accident.

The boat was identified as MV Racal IV, a cargo vessel that had been docked at a local shipyard in Lower Jasaan five years ago.

The affected coast villages are Lower Jasaan, Upper Jasaan, Luz Banson, and Kimaya.

Sabas Tagarda Jr., Lower Jasaan chairman, said they have collected 20 barrels of oil and liquid within their jurisdiction as of Tuesday, April 6.

According to the Phil. Coast Guard, the sinking occurred early Saturday morning, although prior to that, it was already reported there was a hull breach that is causing the seawater to seep into the vessel.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ronald Moncayo, acting chief of the PCG’s Marine Environment Protection Force based in Misamis Oriental, said a salvage company has asked permission to “pump out” any remaining fluids such as oil inside the boat before scrapping it.

He said the ship was no longer operational and was sold to a new owner when it sank.

“I told them (salvage company) to put spill booms around the vessel as requirement before we could allow them to conduct a ‘pump out,’ but it sank before the salvaging company could comply with the requirement,” Moncayo said.

He said the yet-to-be identified ship’s owner could be facing violation of Republic Act 9275 or the Clean Water Act for the oil spill.

Moncayo has also confirmed of an oil discharge during the sinking.

“This is worse than the previous oil spill incidents we have,” Tagarda said.

Tagarda said he has already advised residents not to bathe or go fishing until the spill is full contained.

As of Sunday afternoon, Sabas said they were able to collect about 2,000 liters of a mixture of seawater and oil using sawdust and mosquito net.

To capture the oil, sawdust is spread out to the sea. Oil is absorbed by the sawdust which is then gathered using the mosquito net.

“It is simple yet effective. So far, we were able to collect almost half of the oil in my area of responsibility,” Sabas said, adding that it is his hope that other village leaders will follow this method.

He added they have also placed oil spill booms around Lower Jasaan’s coastal area to contain the spillage.





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