Experts to assess extent of damage of Monad Shoal
WITH the removal of the Panama-registered MV Belle Rose from where it ran aground in Monad Shoal off Malaspascua Island in northern Cebu, a team of divers will now focus on measuring the exact damaged area to determine the compensation that would be demanded from the owner of the bulk carrier.
Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) head Baltazar Tribunalo Jr. said it was agreed in a technical meeting held at the Capitol yesterday that the divers would begin today measuring the affected area, after which another team of divers would assess the kinds of corals destroyed as well as the kinds of fish that thrive in them. The valuation and costing of the damage would then come after, he added.
According to Tribunalo, close to 30 divers from different agencies would be working on the assessment on shifting basis. Four would come from PDRRMO, another four from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro), ten from the local divers and diving shops in Daanbantayan town that has jurisdiction over the area, two to four from the Central Visayas Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR 7), three to four from the region’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR 7) and two from the University of San Carlos.
“We hope that by July 6, we will already have the comprehensive report on the damage assessment and cost,” Tribunalo said.
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III also issued yesterday Executive Order No. 6 creating the Task Force Monad Shoal.
The task force, headed by PDRRMO to be assisted by Penro, will evaluate the extent of the damage caused by MV Belle Rose as well as to consolidate all claims for damages against the ship owner to determine the appropriate compensation; and to negotiate settlement with the ship owner, the Sun Ship Management Corp. Ltd. of Japan.
The other task force members were representatives from the Daanbantayan local government, the DENR, BFAR, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).
The operational budget of the task force will also be provided under the Office of the Governor.
MV Belle Rose is currently in San Fernando unloading its 48,000 metric tons of clinker, an aggregate in making cement, at the wharf of Taiheiyo Cement Philippines Inc. (TCPI).
In a memorandum of consensus signed last Monday by the PDRRMO and the lawyer of the ship owner, the ship will be allowed to proceed to Keppel Subic Shipyard where it will undergo repairs to its damaged hull.
The ship owner has assured MV Belle Rose would not leave Philippine waters until a letter of guarantee is crafted to assure that it would address the damages that would be claimed by different stakeholders.
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