Gullas: Salvage sunken vessel quickly
(The Freeman) - May 17, 2017 - 4:00pm

CEBU, Philippines - Mayor Eduardo Gullas wants to fast-track the salvage operation for the cargo vessel that sank in the waters off Talisay City to prevent an oil spill and other environmental damage.

But John Manuel Alip, deputy commander of the Coast Guard in Cebu Station, said they could not yet give a definite date as to the salvage operation because it will depend on the outcome of the ongoing negotiation between the ship owner and the salvage company.

“Actually, ongoing ang negotiation ng company sa salvage company shipping, sila ang bahala ng kumausap ng come up ng negotiation. I cannot give you time kung gaano katagal, depende talaga sa kanila,” Alip said.

Alip assured though that there is no spillage near the area.

City Disaster Risk reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) head Alvin Santillana, for his part, said this week is the perfect time to salvage the ship while the weather is still favorable.

Both Gullas and Santillana thanked the PCG for their quick action during the incident, but asked for an immediate salvaging of the vessel's remnants.

“Nagpasalamat si Mayor nga quick action kaayo ang coastguard pero karon nalangay ang trabaho karon sa shipping firm kay murag sila nay nagbuot kung kanus-a sila mulihok which is bati kaayo ang signal para sa ataoa kay di man ta gusto nga malangay ang trabaho nila,” Santillana said.

“Nag ingon mi karon sa coastguard nga padalia nana ninyo ang owner ka yang coastguard mandated mana, naa silay power ana. Ang problema lang ana if the owner kay galikay likay sad,” he added.

 If the salvage operation would further be delayed, Santillana said the sunken vessel might cause harm to the environment.

He said the hired salvage team should determine now the time frame of their operation as well as the equipment to be used and personnel to be deployed.

Police Inspector 2 Isidro Bajenting from Marine Environmental Protection Unit (MEPU) Central Visayas said the equipment needed to salvage the vessel sitting 120 feet deep are available.

He said they are constantly monitoring the area for any oil spillage.

On Tuesday, they conducted water sampling points for the baseline data of the water quality in the area where the vessel sank.

To recall, MV Fortuner sank early Sunday morning when crew noticed a sudden crack in the middle of the vessel. All the 22 crew members, including the ship captain, were safe after they were rescued by Fortuner’s sister ship. — IIris Mariani B. Algabre and Arvie N. Veloso (FREEMAN)

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