PCG allays oil spill after tanker runs aground off Pangasinan

BOLINAO, Pangasinan — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported on Wednesday there is still no sign of oil spill from a tanker stranded on the coast of Barangay Patar after running aground off since Sunday night.

In an interview, PCG-Pangasinan Petty Officer-in-Charge SN1 Jomarie Marquez said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has inspected the exterior of the Chinese vessel M/V Chematic, and has seen only minor dents.

“The tanker has dents on its hull but no signs of oil spill yet. It has reached the rocky portion of the shore but not corals,” he said.

He added authorities have not yet boarded on the vessel as they are waiting for the quarantine officers, the representatives from the Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Immigration.

“We have a protocol that the first to board and check the tanker are the quarantine officers because the ship and crew are from other countries to ensure they have no virus or anything that might put the people at risk,” Marquez said.

The tanker’s location, he said, is a remote area so traveling may take some time but they are expected to arrive at the site Wednesday afternoon or night.

M/V Chematic has 23 crew members, 20 of whom are Chinese nationals while three are from Myanmar, he said.

Marquez said the tanker allegedly contains a chemical used to make foam, which is harmful to people when overexposed to it, and petroleum.

“We will know exactly when we board the ship,” he said.

The vessel was from Brunei and was heading to Ningbo, China when it encountered engine trouble.

After the inspection by authorities, Marquez said the vessel will be towed to the nearest port and further investigation will be conducted before it could proceed to its destination.

Meanwhile, members of the Philippine Navy, Pangasinan police, Philippine National Police Maritime Unit, DENR, among other agencies, responded to the incident.

Barangay Patar here is known for its pristine white sand beach and the home of giant clams.  Hilda Austria / PNA – northboundasia.com