MV Diamond clearing, not shipbreaking

MV Diamond clearing, not shipbreaking

OFFICIALS from the Lapu-Lapu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro), City Health Office (CHO) and Barangay Punta Engaño have clarified that the ongoing works being conducted on the mv Diamond Highway in Sitio Proper Jansen are clearing operations and not shipbreaking operations, and that rashes nearby residents may be experiencing are not due to these operations.

This is in response to reports that the shipbreaking works on the ship have resumed even with the Lapu-Lapu City Government’s cease and desist order still in effect.

Last week, Lapu-Lapu Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan instructed an investigating team to inspect the area where the alleged shipbreaking operations were taking place.

Punta Engaño officials and personnel from Cenro and CHO conducted the inspection and found that the shipbreaking personnel were only clearing the area of waste and scrap materials on Tuesday, March 12, 2024.

According to Cenro officer Jocelyn Abayan, their assessment is that most of the rashes suffered by residents living near the ship were actually from chicken pox and not a result of an allergic reaction caused by the shipbreaking operation.

SunStar Cebu sought more details from the CHO on the residents’ ailments but did not receive a reply.

The residents of four sitios--Lupa, Colo, Proper Jansen and Mangal--have been experiencing allergic reactions, which they attribute to the shipbreaking operation nearby. They claim that the operation releases fiber dust, which has resulted in some of them developing skin and even pulmonary diseases.

Almost done

During the inspection conducted on Tuesday, ship operations official Voltaire Godinez said they had almost completed clearing the ship of its waste materials and scraps.

To prevent the dust from being carried by the air to nearby residents, Abayan suggested covering the ship’s dust with limestone or anapog, as it is referred to locally.

In February, the shipbreaking operation was reported to have caused skin and pulmonary diseases among the residents of the four sitios. In response, Chan through the City’s legal office issued a cease and desist order to stop the operation.

However, in March, some residents claimed that the shipbreaking continued despite the order due to a resolution passed by barangay officials allowing Pilipinas Precious Metal Resources Inc. (PPMRI), mv Diamond’s shipbreaking company, to resume the operation.

Barangay Councilor Mark Escardo clarified in a text message to SunStar Cebu on March 9 that the resolution only requested an investigation by the Lapu-Lapu City Government to determine if PPMRI should be allowed to resume the shipbreaking or cutting of mv Diamond Highway.

Escardo said their goal is for PPMRI to complete the shipbreaking to permanently solve the problem. However, they are still waiting for a decision from Chan.

Barangay Councilor Lito Pagobo confirmed that the cease and desist order is still in effect and can only be lifted by the City Legal Officer with approval from the mayor.

Chan said he will not lift the suspension order until the ship’s management complies with all of the CHO’s recommendations.

The recommendations include the company ensuring that the residents do not contract disease as a result of the shipbreaking process and that all the shipbreaking materials be contained to prevent health hazards such as fine dust from affecting the residents living nearby. / HIC, WITH PR

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