Green group wants probe into oil spill in Manila Bay

Green group wants probe into oil spill in Manila Bay
Photo dated Thursday, July 8, shows the cargo load of the partially sunken MV Palawan Pearl.
Philippine Coast Guard / Released

MANILA, Philippines — An environmental group called for an investigation into an oil spill in Manila Bay after a Filipino cargo vessel and a foreign-flagged dredger collided early Thursday.

MV Palawan Pearl collided with the BKM 104 near the Baseco shoreline at around 2:10 a.m, causing the Filipino vessel to tilt and lie half-submerged in the waters.

Oil sheens have been detected in the area, and the Philippine Coast Guard is preparing to surround Palawan Pearl with oil spill boom as a mitigating measure.

In a statement, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment called for an immediate probe to determine and redress the extent of the pollution.

“This oil spill incident involving a foreign dredging vessel for the Aerocity reclamation must be investigated for procedural violations and to establish accountability. Those at fault must pay for the cleanup and other remedial measures for the affected waters in Manila Bay,” said Leon Dulce, Kalikasan PNE national coordinator.

The Cyprus-flagged dredger is in the country to undertake dredging works for the New Manila International Airport, a reclamation project off the coast of Bulacan province, the PGC said.

Dulce said the anomalies and vulnerabilities in the environmental assessment of the project “can lead to more damaging impacts like this.”

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources granted an Environmental Compliance Certificate to the airport project last June 1. But a copy of the document was made available to Philstar.com only on June 24.

But experts and environmental groups said the project will pose harm not only to Manila Bay’s ecosystem but also to communities.

“If further investigations confirm accountability over the Aerocity proponents, its ECC must immediately be revoked, and operations must be suspended,” he said. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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