Oil Spill in Iloilo during Storm Surge

DOTC-PCG: Elements of the Philippine Coast Guard in Western Visayas worked out to contain the oil spill from a barge owned by the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) after it was damaged at the height of typhoon Yolanda last week.

About 200,000 liters of bunker fuel from NAPOCOR Power Barge 103 spilled at the shoreline of Barangay Botongon, Estancia, Iloilo during slash of typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan.) An estimate of 150,000 liters were washed ashore and contaminated about a kilometer stretch of Estancia's coastline and its infrastructures.

Power Barge 103 was said to be moored at the area when Estancia Pier was totally eroded by the storm surge. This caused the subject vessel to drift at the rocky shoreline of Barangay Botongan which damaged its bottom hull and subsequently resulted to the oil spill.

Eutiquio A. Pagkalinawan, manager of the power barge, confirmed in a press conference that approximately 200,000 liters of bunker oil spilled during the storm surge and about 50,000 liters of it were still on the sea surface.

Pagkalinawan added that the barge's crew immediately tried to contain the spill by deploying their 100-meter spill booms. They siphoned out the contained oil through a submersible pump which was transferred to their empty ballast tank. The crew have likewise sprayed oil dispersant along Botongan in Estancia.

Meanwhile, the personnel of Coast Guard Sub-Station (CGSS) Estancia rigged the spill booms when it found out in an ocular inspection that the oil seeped out of Power Barge 103's bottom hull. The spill was said to be "uncontainable".

Further investigation revealed that the spill has already reached barangays Paon and Tanza with approximately two-kilometer stretch.

The day after, COMMO ATHELO IBANEZ PCG, Commander of Coast Guard District Western Visayas (CGDWV), together with the Marine Environmental Protection Unit-Western Visayas (MEPU-WV), proceeded to Estancia to determine the extent of oil spill and help in its containment.

The CGDWV Oil Spill Response Team came with two dump trucks with 300 -meter spill booms, Prime Mover Tier-1, two generator sets and one sprayer equipment to augment the spill containment.

COMMO IBANEZ PCG briefed Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. about the Coast Guard's oil spill response and further informed the official that he will coordinate with the NAPOCOR president regarding the unloading and transfer of the bunker oil.

The northern tip of Panay Island was among the areas hit by Yolanda, where the NAPOCOR Barge Pier was located.

(Mia L.Nebre, News Agent-Manila)

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