Petron Corp., which owns the oil tanker that sank off Guimaras Island, said yesterday that the oil spill from the vessel has stopped and that the black blob of oil "has been thinning."
In a statement, Virginia A. Ruivivar, public affairs manager of Petron, said the report on the oil spill was based on the latest aerial surveillance.
She said: "There is no oil slick near the area where the vessel sunk. On the Negros side, no coastal areas have been hit with the oil spill."
Ruivivar, however, said Petron is "gravely concerned about the possibility that the oil remaining in the vessel will continue to be released into the environment."
Petron said it has tapped the services of a company that is capable of conducting underwater inspection and salvage operations using the latest technology.
"Our primary goal within the next few days is to determine whether and how the fuel cargo can be safely retrieved from where it is, under 640 meters of water," Ruivivar said.
Petron said it has organized communities in Nueva Valencia to begin cleanup operations on the affected shorelines as part of efforts to help contain and recover the oil spill.
"At sea, we have deployed equipment which includes W.I.S.E. (Waterborne Industry Spill Response) tugboats, oil spill booms, absorbent pads, oil skimmers, dispersants etc. We have 4 oil spill response teams assisting in clean-up operations. We have also sought the assistance of experts as well as other members of the oil industry in order to expedite the oil spill containment and recovery," she said.
According to Ruivivar, Petron has engaged more than 600 people in the municipality under a "cashfor-work" scheme to help in the shoreline clean-up.
"Hopefully, we will be able to engage more of the local communities to expedite the clean-up. As of August 20, we have covered nearly 12 kilometers of shoreline and collected 60 metric tons of debris. At our current rate, we expect the clean-up to be completed in 30-45 days.
Petron has coordinated with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) about the relief operations for the affected communities. …