DENR demands P41.7-M payment from shipping lines-A A +A
Friday, October 4, 2013
THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 has demanded payment of more than P41 million from two shipping companies involved in an oil spill last August.
DENR 7 Executive Director Isabelo Montejo signed the demand letters Enrique Go of the Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. (PSACC) and Francis Chua of 2GO Group.
PSACC’s mv Sulpicio Express Siete and 2GO’s mv St. Thomas Aquinas collided on Aug. 16, resulting in the sinking of the latter vessel, which leaked oil to some coastal areas in Lapu-Lapu City and Cordova town.
The DENR 7 gave the two shipping companies until Nov. 15 to pay the fine of P41,704,600.
In his demand letters to the shipping firms, Montejo said the oil spill destroyed newly planted mangroves, which cost about P6 million to plant in an area covering 328 hectares.
The mangroves were planted from 2009 to 2012 under the DENR's Integrated Coastal Resource Management Program, Montejo said.
Apart from the cost of planting the mangroves, the fine was also based on the estimated P35.8 million worth of fish that are lost in a year for every hectare of mangroves destroyed.
“A hectare of mangrove produces up to 3.6 tons of litter fall per year per hectare, thus providing a lot of food for marine life. Also, in every hectare of mangrove destroyed, some 1.08 tons of fish per year per hectare will be lost,” Montejo said.
Officials of 2GO Group and PSACC yesterday said they will comment on the demand letter of DENR once they have received their copies.
Lito Salvio of the 2GO Group said that they have not yet received the DENR letter.
“We will call a press conference tomorrow (today) to show through the media what 2GO
has done to clean up the seawaters off Cordova,” Salvio said.
He said 2GO has spent a big sum of money for the cleanup and food for Cordova fisherfolk who helped.
Capt. Nestor Ponteres, port captain of PSACC, said his company donated the oil dispenser chemicals.
Ponteres said PSACC has not yet received the DENR letter as well.
He said PSACC has nothing to do with the oil spill because the oil did not come from its vessel, which is under repair in a dockyard.
DENR 7 public information officer Eddie Llamedo said representatives of the two shipping firms are set to meet DENR 7 officials in a technical conference on Oct. 9.
“We are demanding such amount from the (ship) owners as we would like to proceed with providing alternative livelihood options to people's organizations that have been affected by the incident and carefully draw out reconstruction programs like rehabilitation and reforestation efforts,” Montejo said.
The oil spill affected Barangays Bangbang, Buagsong, Day-as, Catarman, Poblacion, Alegria, Gabi, Pilipog and San Miguel in Cordova; and Calawisan, Babag and Suba-Basbas in Lapu-Lapu City.
Llamedo said that if the two shipping companies refuse to pay the amount, they may be charged for violating Republic Act (RA) 9483, otherwise known as the Oil Pollution Compensation Act of 2007.
He said the DENR sent demand letters to 2GO and PSACC even though the Special Board of Marine Inquiry (SBMI) has yet to release its investigation on the collision of the vessels.
He said Section 9 of RA 9483 provides that when pollution damage occurs due to an incident caused by two or more ships, the owners of the vessels shall be “jointly liable.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 04, 2013.