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PCG postpones decontamination of Chinese ship

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) postponed for one day the decontamination of the cargo hold of the Chinese vessel that yielded about 400 boxes of carcasses of anteaters.

The PCG said this was to make a more detailed plan for the proper handling of the dead animals that were already decomposing and emitting stench.

PCG Palawan District commander Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista said that the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board (TPAMB), Tubbataha Management Office (TMO), local health officials, and veterinarians met with the contractor who would handle the decontamination.

“The TPAMB already met and now it is turn of the executive committee that would meet to discuss on how they would implement the decontamination and removal of the pangolin carcass from the cargo hold and in bringing them to the burial site,” said Evangelista.

He added that they would have to settle on what would be the best way to secure and transport the decomposing anteaters, also called pangolin and locally called “balentong,” to its burial site in Irawan, Palawan.

The PCG official said that they have also taken a sample of the water from the cargo hold to determine if it was already filled with bacteria and if it would compromise the health of those who would be retrieving the dead pangolins from the ship.

“The safety of our workers would always be our primary concern. It is urgent that we dispose of these carcasses because it already emits a foul odor and this could become a health hazard,” Evangelista added.

Another matter that needs to be settled was the payment to the contractor. The TMO would initially shoulder the expenses.

The Chinese vessel F/B Ming Long Yu ran aground at the Tubbataha Reef at around 11:30 p.m. last April 8.

The 48-meter steel-hulled Chinese fishing boat reportedly ran aground 50 meters from the edge of the atoll.

The motor tugboat M/T Limay, which is owned by Malayan Towage and Salvage Corp., towed out the Chinese vessel from Tubbataha Reef last April 19.

There were 12 Chinese on board, led by their 46-year-old captain Liu Chang Jie, from Shandong, China.

The vessel’s port of origin was Fujin City. It reportedly came from Malaysia and was on its way to China when it ran aground in Tubbataha.

B MING LONG YU

COMMODORE ENRICO EFREN EVANGELISTA

EVANGELISTA

FUJIN CITY

LIU CHANG JIE

MALAYAN TOWAGE AND SALVAGE CORP

PALAWAN DISTRICT

PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD

T LIMAY

TUBBATAHA REEF

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