Water sampling shows oil contamination in sea around Pescador Island

By: Michelle Joy L. Padayhag June 17,2016 - 11:09 PM

THE seawater at Pescador Island, an islet along Tañon Strait and under the jurisdiction of Moalboal town in southwestern Cebu, was found to have been contaminated by an oil spill from a still unknown vessel.

The results of a water sampling test released yesterday by the Environmental Management Bureau in Central Visayas (EMB-7) showed the presence of two milligrams of oil for every one liter of water that was sampled, according to EMB-7 Chief Cindylyn Pepito.

“We still have to conduct another assessment next week to determine if there is still a presence of oil. We also need to consider other factors like the tide, temperature and wind,” she told Cebu Daily News.

EMB-7 took the water samples from five stations, namely, Shoreline Bas Diot, Pescadoris North, Pescadoris West, Pescadoris South and Pescadoris East. The standard volume failed in Pescadoris North, West and East, she said.

Pepito said they have not identified the specific type of oil that contaminated the area since it was a used oil.

The oil spill off the coast of Pescador Island was reported on June 10. Residents immediately undertook a coastal clean-up and recovered 30 sacks of thick black oil. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Cebu Station has yet to identify where the used oil came from but suspected it could have been dumped by a passing ship.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Central Visayas (BFAR-7) Regional Director Andres Bojos said he could not yet issue an advisory to suspend fishing in the area since he has yet to receive the EMB-7 water sampling report.

“I still have to read the results for me to weigh my options… if we need to send technical experts there,” Bojos said.

Pescador Island is located along Tañon Strait, which is also a shipping lane for vessels traveling between Mindanao and the Visayas. Tañon Strait is also a rich marine habitat and was declared a protected area in 1988, under Presidential Decree 1234, where commercial fishing is prohibited.

CDN tried but failed to reach Moalboal Mayor Inocentes Cabaron for comment.

Meanwhile, another cargo vessel ran aground on Wednesday afternoon along the coastal water of Barangay Caceres, Oslob but caused no damage to any marine life in the area.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Cebu Station Commander Agapito Bibat said the vessel, LTC-778 owned by Seen Sam Shipping and loaded with heavy equipment, was bound for Toledo City from Minglanilla town when it hit shallow waters off the shore of Barangay Caceres.

“The vessel was able to move backward and managed to move out from the shallow waters,” Bibat said in a phone interview.

Bibat said an assessment conducted in the area showed that, so far, no marine life was damaged.

The cargo vessel, captained by Reynan Casinilo, was cleared by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) and PCG Cebu Station and was allowed to sail, also on Wednesday.

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TAGS: Cebu, Environmental Management Bureau in Central Visayas, Marina, Moalboal, Pescador island, ship, Tañon Strait, vessel

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