CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) was able to collect at least 2,000 liters of oil residue from an old cargo ship that sank in the coastal Barangay Lower Jasaan, Jasaan town, Misamis Oriental on Sunday.
Sabas Tagarda Jr., Lower Jasaan village chairman, said the oil residue was caused by the sinking of MV Racal IV, a cargo boat that had been docked at a local shipyard in Lower Jasaan five years ago. Using sawdust and mosquito net, PCG was able to collect the oil that was already mixed with saltwater.
He said to capture the oil, sawdust is spread out to the sea. Oil is absorbed by the sawdust which is then gathered using the mosquito net.
“It is simple yet effective. So far, we were able to collect almost half of the oil in my area of responsibility,” Tagarda said, adding that it is his hope that other village leaders will follow this method.
However, residents in the said barangay have also expressed concern that oil spill caused by the sunken old cargo ship could affect the livelihood of the village’s fisherfolk.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Ronald Moncayo, acting chief of the PCG’s Marine Environment Protection Force based in Misamis Oriental, said the sinking occurred early Saturday morning, Prior to that, it was already reported there was a hull breach that is causing the seawater to seep into the vessel.
He added that a salvage company has asked permission to “pump out” any remaining fluids such as oil inside the boat before scrapping it, adding that the ship was no longer operational and was sold to a new owner when it sank.
“I told them (salvage company) to put spill booms around the vessel as requirement before we could allow them to conduct a ‘pump out,’ but it sank before the salvaging company could comply with the requirement,” Moncayo said.
He said the yet-to-be identified ship’s owner could be facing violation of Republic Act 9275 or the Clean Water Act for the oil spill.
Moncayo also confirmed an oil discharge during the sinking.
Other barangays affected were Luz Banson, Kimaya, and Upper Jasaan.
“This is worse than the previous oil spill incidents we have,” Tagarda said, advising residents not to bathe or go fishing until the spill is fully contained.
He said they have also placed oil spill booms around Lower Jasaan’s coastal area to contain the spillage.