The beautiful island of Guimaras, located in central Philippines, is under state of calamity. More than 26,000 people who depend on fishing suddenly lost their livelihood after tanker MT Solar 1, chartered by Petron, sank in 3,000 ft of water with some two million liters of industrial fuel.
Some 50,000 gallons of oil leaked from the tanker which still lies 900 meters underwater. This has already polluted 20 barangays covering 220 km of coastline and destroyed 454 hectares of mangroves and 58 hectares of seaweed farms in Guimaras.
Iloilo City Boy explains why the incident must be referred as Petron Oil Spill:
“By naming the incident ‘Guimaras Oil Spill,’ we will be unfairly “stigmatizing” their province and the image of the oil spill will forever stick in the minds of people long after the sludge has been removed. …On the other hand, Petron owned the oil and may have some liability in the catastrophe. Let the oil spill “stigmatize” their company. “
The maritime tragedy also threatens rare shrimp species in the province. View some pictures on the damage done by the oil spill.
A fisherfolk alliance warns of revolt after Petron issued a statement to a stock exchange in Manila that it has no obligation to shoulder the cost of cleaning up the massive oil slick:
“This environmental tragedy perpetrated by Petron in collaboration with the national government will literally and politically speaking launch a thousand ships carrying protesters and angry fishermen and residents…They better accomplish their assignments or face a Visayas wide fisherfolk revolt.”
Greenpeace activists went to the affected coastal communities and documented their findings. Janet was saddened by what she saw:
“I saw whole swathes of mangroves with their root systems covered in the black tar. A clean up of such a tangled mass of roots would be impossible; the oils will remain trapped within the roots for years.”
Matthew narrated the difficulty of cleaning the oil pollution:
“It took two hours to clean the oil from the inflatables this afternoon. Lots of soap and muscle… The brown slick it was everywhere: On the beach, on the outriggers, on the locals’ feet and hands, in their back yards…The locals are testing their own oil booms made from rice straw, bamboo and Hessian sacks.”
A twelve-year old schoolboy wishes the oil to go away quickly.