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PIA Press Release
2006/10/13

First phase of oil spill cleanup over, says DNDís Cruz

Quezon City (13 October) -- THE FIRST phase of the cleanup of areas in Guimaras province affected by the Visayas oil spill was declared finished and disaster officials said they are making preparations to siphon off the remaining bunker fuel from the sunken tanker M/T Solar I.

Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr., concurrent National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) chairman, said officials have begun phase two of the cleanup, which involves crafting an environmental rehabilitation plan.

"The stage one of the cleanup is finished. The environmental rehabilitation plan, and its method of implementation, is next," he said.

Cruz told a news conference in Camp Aguinaldo that 1.3 kilometers of shoreline have been cleared of sludge.

The rehabilitation plan, to be drafted by the environment and science departments, would "bring back mangroves, sea grass, and coral reefs to where they were [before the oil spill]," Cruz said.

Cruz said the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) was expected to approve by October 23 the oil siphoning operations.

The IOPC, an international organization of petroleum companies, has agreed to pay $30 million to $40 million for the cleanup and compensation of those affected by the oil slick, he said.

Cruz said officials were two weeks into a six-month "complex engineering" study to plan the siphoning, which could cost from $8 million to $10 million.

A European company will be commissioned to remove out the remaining oil inside the tanker, which could take between 30 to 45 days to finish, he said. (PIA) [top]

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