Talisay seawaters safe for fishermen, but oil should be siphoned off vessel
MV FORTUNER SINKING
While the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-7) has declared the sunken site of MV Fortuner still safe for fishermen to ply their trade, an official of the Talisay City government wants the remaining oil to be siphoned to prevent damage to marine life.
Alvin Santillana, head of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC), said they have learned their lesson from an oil spill which resulted from a ship collision in 2013 between MV St. Thomas Aquinas of 2Go Shipping Lines and the Sulpicio Express Siete of Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. which resulted in serious damage to the seawaters of Lauis Ledge in Talisay City.
“We don’t want another disaster to happen. They have to siphon the oil,” Santillana told Cebu Daily News.
BFAR Regional Director Allan Poquita said the oil from the ill-fated MV Fortuner was contained.
“Akong mensahe sa publiko ilabi na gyud sa atong mananagat nga, it’s still safe to fish. And to the consuming public, dili ni problema ning hitabo-a karon kay wa gyud nakaabot sa baybayon ang sheen,” Poquita said.
(My message to the public specially to our fishermen is that it’s still safe to fish. And to the consuming public, there is no problem because the sheen hasn’t reached the shore.)
Poquita sent BFAR personnel to the sunken site last Monday to check the waters off Barangay Cansojong, Talisay City.
The MV Fortuner owned by Seen Sam Shipping Inc. sank last Sunday loaded with steel billets. The ill-fated cargo vessel also carried 4,000 liters of special fuel, a combination of bunker and diesel.
Bantay Dagat members who were sent to the site last Sunday said they smelled oil coming from the sunken vessel.
Today, Santillana will meet Benson Go, owner of the sunken MV Fortuner, to get a commitment from him to siphon the oil inside the vessel.
“Bisan wala pa (oil spill), they are still liable to siphon the oil. We have to put pressure on them to prevent environmental damage,” Santillana added.
He said they are apprehensive that tourism and fishing would be affected, considering that these are the main source of livelihood in Talisay.
Lagundi Reef is a 2.4-hectare coral reef and about 1.5 kilometers from Barangay Poblacion which was declared as marine sanctuary in 2005.
Barangay Cansojong, where the ill-fated MV Fortuner sank, faces Barangay Poblacion where Lagundi reef is located.
Cebu Daily News yesterday went with personnel from the Marine Environment Protection Unit (MEPU) of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to visit the sunken site.
CDN observed a blotch of oil sheen but no odor coming from the sunken vessel.
A black marker was placed at the site.
Ryan Cuna, MEPU head, told CDN that the oil was immediately contained and the vessel’s service tank was also sealed.
But even if the oil is contained, Cuna said it is still necessary to siphon the remaining oil.
“They need to siphon (oil) because the tank will deteriorate and to also prevent future hazard,” Cuna said.
He also assured fishermen in Talisay City that the oil sheen will not affect marine life since it is volatile.
“We are also not sure yet if all these sheen we saw now are coming from MV Fortuner since this site is considered an anchorage area for other vessels,” Cuna added.
Meanwhile, the ship captain Edilberto Isidro filed his marine protest last Monday.
MV Fortuner was loaded with 1,500 to 2,145 pieces of steel billets which weigh 2,175 to 3,110 tons.
Its gross tonnage was 1,474.32 while its net tonnage was 974.44. Its length was 83.60 meters.
According to his marine protest, their “vessel commenced loading of steel billets from MV Paros Seas to our vessel MV Fortuner with the use of the robot crane of the MV Paros Seas” on May 1, 2017.
On May 7, Sunday, the vessel finished loading its cargo but remained alongside MV Paros Seas off waters in Barangay Cansojong, Talisay City, awaiting advice to transfer in order to unload the cargo at Pier 2 in Cebu Ports Authority (CPA).
“That after completion of loading, I, as Master of the vessel ordered the Second Officer on duty at that time to conduct assessment on the vessel to which it is observed that she was on safe and stable condition,” the marine protest read.
At 2:55 a.m., Sunday, an apprentice heard a loud cracking sound along the midship section.
All officers and crew assessed the vessel’s condition, but according to Isidro’s marine protest, “we did not find anything unusual.”
They heard another loud sound at 3:35 a.m. of the same day at the deck plating (starboard side) and during inspection, the portside shell plating of the midsection of cargo hold number two sustained a wavy dent.
Another loud sound was heard at 5:40 a.m coming from the midsection of the vessel.
At 6 a.m. the captain gave an order to abandon ship. Some of the crew transferred to Tug 38 while the others were transferred to MV Paros Seas.
The vessel started to sink at 6:10 a.m. until its midsection broke and the vessel totally sank at 6:25 a.m. /With CNU Intern Christine Jane N. Paler
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