Work started yesterday to contain a posssible oil spill and to remove the week-old sunken cargo ship MV B and E Uno in the Mactan Channel.
Salvage work on the vessel that carried 23,000 bags of cement from Iligan City will take one week, said Commodore Rolando Punzalan of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
The PCG approved the emergency salvage permit of Omega Steel and Marine Services, the contractor hired by M/V B & E Uno shipping Corp.
Punzalan said work will take three phases – siphoning fuel and oil from the vessel to prevent spillage, retrieval of cargo and lifting the sunken vessel from the sea.
The last phase will need a crane barge and transport to a shipyard.
The contractor yesterday surveyed the site and laid out plans for the siphoning of fuel and lubricant oil.
Additional spill booms were fielded.
Andy Berame, administrative officer of Lapu-Lapu City’s Task Force Kalikasan (TFK), said they will be monitoring the entire process.
The vessel sank around 2 kilometers from Muelle Osmeña wharf where the city’ government’s speed boat used by the Task Force Kalikasan is docked for monitoring purposes.
The ship owner placed a security guard at the site, stationed in a small boat, after finding out that the vessel’s anchor and radar antenna were looted.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza wrote Benjamin Go, the ship owner, and demanded that he immediately remove the vessel or face legal action.
The mayor was concerned that it took them some time work for salvaging work to begin.
Earlier the chiefs of four barangays of Canjulao, Looc, Babag and Calawisan expressed concern about the risk of pollution from the ship’s cargo, and its fuel supply, would threaten the livelihood of fisherfolk.
Fishing activities in these communities range from the traditional capture fishing to aquaculture like the culture of the seaweed locally known as lato.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) cautioned residents to be careful about eating fish and other marine life harvested in the seawater near the ship.
The ship sank in shallow water around 9 p.m. last July 8 while maneuvering to dock in Pier 4 of Cebu City.
All 17 crew members swam to safety. /Norman V. Mendoza, Correspondent