News & Updates

Gov. Guico asks Customs to remove ship loaded with oil from Sual Bay

LINGAYEN, PANGASINAN — Gov. Ramon “Mon-mon” Guico III on Monday asked the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to remove the ship loaded with more than a million liters of oil from Sual Bay, where it had docked since May 3.

“The ship should be moved to a safer location to protect the bay area from destruction, in the event the crude oil from the ship leaks into the bay,” said Governor Guico in an emergency meeting he called at the Urduja House.

 

Provincial Legal Officer  Baby Ruth Torre said she has written the BoC to formalize the governor’s request.

The ship, MV Veronica I, is now under the custody of the BoC office in Sual after the agency seized the ship when it failed to show the necessary documents for its cargo.

The ship carried 1.35 million liters of crude oil worth P54 million.

Sual Bay, which is a cove facing the Lingayen Gulf, hosts the town’s mariculture area where more than 800 bangus cages are located.

Sual, and the towns of Bolinao and Anda, supply about 80 percent of bangus produced in Pangasinan.

Pablo Costales of Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) extension office in Pangasinan said the ship was not issued by his agency a safety certificate and it should not have sailed.

Cmdr. Mark Theodore Valencia, chief of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) station in Pangasinan, recommended that MV Veronica 1 be allowed to temporarily dock at Sual Fish Port as safety precaution because a typhoon is expected to enter the country on May 26.

“As recommended by Commander Valencia, let us allow the ship to dock in the pier to prevent the possibility that it will be dragged. But it has to be ensured that the evidence, the contents of the ship will be guarded,” said Governor Guico.

Governor Guico also said that the docking at the pier is temporary, adding that the ship should be eventually removed from the bay.

For its part, the Deparment of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) suggested that spill booms be installed around the ship when it docks in the pier.

The DENR also suggested the installation of additional anchors in the ship to stabilize the vessel. The DENR said that their divers found out that the ship dropped its anchor on a muddy substrate.

Lawyer Catherine Regino, legal officer of Sual, said that there is already “an imminent danger or threat” because of the spillage of the oil coming from the ship.

However, laboratory analyses of water samples taken by the DENR near the ship indicated that there were no traces of oil spill in the area yet.

“But the danger remains,” said Governor Guico.

“Is there a way to legally remove the contents of the ship and then remove the ship from the bay and then account for the contents?” the governor asked.

Lawyer Emmanuel Laforteza of the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office said that a sample of the oil is only needed as evidence to be presented in court.

“And for the rest of the diesel products, we can remove that and put it in a safer place or a container as long as we can preserve the evidence by taking a sample. And we have to fasttrack the hearing of that case so we can dispose of this hazardous element,” Laforteza said. (PangasinanPIO)

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