Japanese experts arrive in oil spill-affected areas in Iloilo

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Friday, December 6, 2013

MANILA -- A team of Japanese experts arrived in the town of Estancia in Iloilo on Friday to help contain an oil spill incident brought by a power barge that was severely damaged after the devastation of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last month.

Commander Armando Balilo, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Public Affairs chief, said that a five-man team led by Senior Officer 2nd class (Commander/Lieutenant Colonel) Iwao Mabuchi from the Japan Coast Guard's (JCG) National Strike Team for Oil Pollution arrived in Estancia to to assist in the assessment, evaluation and monitoring of the ongoing clean-up operations.

Balilo said the team was requested by the PCG from their counterparts in the JCG through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) to assess and recommend actions to speed up the clean-up operations and rehabilitation of the area.

Mabuchi was a longtime rehabilitation expert who is formerly assigned to the Planning and International Cooperation on Guard and Rescue Mission of JICA in the country.

As of Friday, 167,000 liters of oil and 60 tons of debris have been collected from the damaged power barge of the National Power Corporation (Napocor).

The PCG spokesperson noted that the damaged Napocor Power Barge 103 has 1.4 million liters of oil with around 200,000 liters have already leaked at approximately two kilometers of coastline.

Eight barangays in total are currently affected by the incident and around 5,000 residents were evacuated due to the unpleasant smell coming from the oil barge.

Balilo said that based on the latest update, PCG chief Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena, together with Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, talked with the representatives of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm).

The Psalm reported that Global Kuan Yu Technologies, which was tapped to conduct clean-up and salvaging operations, will hire additional personnel to augment in the operations.

Balilo noted that PCG will deploy additional equipment, personnel and experts from the Marine Environmental Protection Command (Mepcom).

The Psalm and Napocor have already given and initial P1.5 million to the province of Iloilo and additional P500,000 to the local government of Estancia. (Sunnex)

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