Fisherfolk worry that oil spill will affect spawning grounds-A A +A
Saturday, March 16, 2013
FISHERMEN have called on the owner of the capsized cargo ship in Barangay Looc, Mandaue City to hasten the removal of diesel oil from the vessel's tank.
Councilor Jimmy Lumapas, who met with the fishermen last Thursday afternoon, said the ship owner should find a salvaging firm as soon as possible before the fuel can leak out from the tank.
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Cebu Station Commander Weniel Azcuna yesterday said the owner of the Repal Inter-Island Shipping Lines was still negotiating with two salvaging firms based in Cebu City.
Azcuna gave the owner until yesterday to find a salvaging firm, but he said he might give an extension since the owner is closely keeping in touch with the PCG.
Earlier, Azcuna said the PCG would appoint a salvaging firm if the ship owner failed to meet the deadline.
Azcuna said the 8,000 liters of diesel oil remain intact inside the ship's tank.
The PCG and the Environmental Management Bureau 7 have assured the fishermen they can still catch fish near the area where the mv Maria Angelica Grace capsized because spill booms have been put in place to confine the oil that comes out from the vessel.
The City Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Council, chaired by Lumapas, met with the fishermen to discuss the problem.
Lumapas, in an interview, said the fishermen were worried the ship's fuel may leak out and affect the breeding ground of fish in Cansaga Bay. "Let's just pray for the best," he said.
Last Wednesday, the City Council adopted a resolution, urging the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to monitor the area and detect any oil spill.
There are about 200 fishermen in Mandaue City, which has eight coastal barangays.
Vicente Valle, 55, a fisherman and resident of Barangay Looc, said he continues to catch fish but he is worried the oil coming out from the vessel may soon contaminate the seawater and kill the fish.
"I hope the owner removes the oil as soon as possible. I will surely be affected if the oil leaks out because I fish near the site where the vessel capsized," Valle said in Cebuano.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 16, 2013.