The public should congratulate the Philippine Coast Guard for rescuing all the passengers aboard the MV Asia Malaysia, which sank earlier this week. But hold the celebration for now. The coast guard’s troubles are not over yet, because the sunken vessel is leaking oil in the Visayan Sea. The ship’s fuel tank is believed to be carrying 21,000 liters of fuel, some of which was reportedly seen floating toward the coast of Negros Occidental.
Regrettably, Negros Occidental is no stranger to oil spills. The worst of such disasters struck Western Visayas in 2006, when 2 million liters of bunker fuel spilled from the sunken oil tanker MT Solar 1. In that incident, marine life was destroyed not just in Negros Occidental, but also in the provinces of Iloilo and Guimaras.
The Philippines has one of the worst maritime safety records in the world. While that unfortunate record is measured in the loss of human lives, there has yet to be a full accounting of the environmental costs that continue to plague the living. Once the crisis in Visayan Sea is contained, we hope that the authorities will turn their attention to improving preventive measures to make sea travel safer.
Date: 05 Aug 2011 Source: manilatimes.net