Philippine Oil Spill …

August 19, 2006 at 12:37 pm Leave a comment

updates:

[]…”Guimaras governor appeals for help By Jhunnex Napallacan

Inquirer CEBU CITY — Guimaras Governor JC Rahman Nava on Saturday appealed to all sectors for assistance for his province as it reels under the ravages of what officials say could be the country’s largest maritime oil spill “….[]

[]…”Oil spill sends 4 persons to hospital
Sun.Star, Philippines – RESPIRATORY ill, four persons from one of the affected barangays in Guimaras were sent to the Province’s hospital. Reportedly, these

Sunken tanker a pollution time bomb: Greenpeace
Peninsula On-line, Qatar –NUEVA VALENCIA,Philippines Greenpeace warned yesterday a sunken Philippine oil tanker was a pollution time bomb as oil from its punctured tanks destroyed coral

British experts in Philippines to help with oil spill clean-up
Peninsula On-line, Qatar – NUEVA VALENCIA,Philippines • British experts have arrived in the central Philippines to help assess the damage from the country’s worst-ever oil spill,” …[]

Giving up a little room to Dean Bernardo’s post on the Guimaras Oil spill – a tragic event that will impact on the lives of tens of thousands of subsistance coastal residents.

HERE’S the short list of major spills in the country listed internationally:

2004: January 19 – PHILIPPINES – An oil spill coming from a diving boat that ran aground at the Apo Manor Reef in December, a protected marine park off Mindoro Island, is threatening to destroy one of the world’s best dive sites. Residents of Barangay Siblayan in Occidental Mindoro, a nearby coastal town, said that the M/V Island Explorer has started to leak bunker fuel, endangering the reef which serves as a fish nursery and the major source of livelihood of the surrounding communities. The surrounding waters are abundant with marine fauna and luxuriant coral growth with more than 500 coral species. Marine life includes sharks, stingrays and manta rays.

2001 – June 10 – PHILIPPINES – An oil spill in Cavite is threatening to contaminate Laguna de Bay, caused by a bursting oil pipeline of an industrial and electronics firm at the People’s Technological Complex in Barangay Maduya, Carmona town. The oil spill has already affected a six-kilometer stretch of Carmona-Biñan River, just a few kilometers away from the Laguna Bay. Aside from the affected river, the spilling bunker oil and industrial fuel oil also affected land base areas surrounding the firm.

2000 – February 2 – PHILIPPINES – After running aground on January 24th on the coast of Sual town in Lingayen Gulf, the Singapore-owned vessel MV Nol Schedar was suspected to have left behind an oil slick after she was floated on February 2nd. The spill was later said to have destroyed 2,700 metres of coral reefs and other marine resources, and the case is pending in court.

But that aisde this oil spill will be major problem for years to come in the area –

NGO’s and Corporae groups moving fast forward:
The major players and thier PR firms are working overtime to make sure that issues like the age of the Tanker used, the type of vessel (single hulled ) not doubled hulled as required by most countries. Safety training, are net really being looked at in media – yes – I am sure there is an effort on the part of these groups to do the best they can to help ect…But overall the PR pundits are doing what they do – so the tragic event will not directly affect their cleints.

Hey – in the realities of ‘old media’ ah er- traditional media – its the norm. So bloggers – will hop onto this – Asking Was the ship equipted with things like – Self dispensing oil cleanup chemicals that release on sinking? Or did it have emergency self deploying booms? Any prior insidents?

What is the safety record of the shipping company and oil firm? What ever happened to another ship that BLEW UP! in the middle of Offloading a few months back? Remember the Bantagas Port insident with not oil but Acids that sank? There are scores of questions that perhaps will fill this zone asking and probing.

I strongly suggest in a country that has so much maritime expertise – there must many qualifed others in blogspace who can dig answer and get information out there on this topic – before the PR guys make the moves to make sure this story gets played down or thrown to government or the merchant seamen on the vessel alone – and the big corporate advertisers dont get too much grief over this. Its nothing new really, its the reality of advertiser supported media.
Greenpeace – apt name – has been filling the airwaves with information on the oil spill and working double time to get its presence into the area – a reminder though… please navigate carefully in the area? They were green with dismay over a past activity in the country.

Don’t get me worng for the most part they do a good job keeping the message out there and like most NGO’s do a lot to raise funds… uh… what else do they do? Oh yeah… raise awareness on issues… hold fundraisers… make issues known… get donations… throw great parties… lots of babes… ok I better stop or I won’t get another invite to the next big outing – ah er- event they often hold.

recent greenpeace history:

WALANG HIMALA! *BANG!*I just find it amusing that Greenpeace was fined Php 384000 for the damage that its boat, the Rainbow Warrior II, inflicted on the Tubataha reef.
javierish.blogspot.com/2005/11/i-just-find-it-amusing-that-greenpeace.html – 18k –

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Greenpeace fined for reef damage

Greenpeace divers were inspecting Tubbataha’s reefs for damage Greenpeace agreed to pay the fine, but blamed the accident on outdated maps provided by
news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4395572.stm – 29k – CachedSimilar pages

Greenpeace faces fine for reef damage. 01/11/2005. ABC News Online

The ship and its crew were handed a $A15,543 fine after the 55-metre motor-assisted schooner ran aground at the Tubbataha Reef Marine in the central
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200511/s1495460.htm – 23k – CachedSimilar pages

Planet Ark : Greenpeace to Pay Fine for Damaging Philippine Reef

Greenpeace to Pay Fine for Damaging Philippine Reef Greenpeace said in a joint statement with the Tubbataha National Marine Park, but it laid some of
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/33274/newsDate/2-Nov-2005/story.htm – 24k – CachedSimilar pages

Greenpeace to pay for damage to reef – Peculiar Postings – MSNBC.com

Greenpeace to pay fine for damaging coral reef was “very regrettable,” Greenpeace said in a joint statement with the Tubbataha National Marine Park,
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9896100/ – 42k – CachedSimilar pages

A regrettable accident | Greenpeace InternationalThe fine was set at 384000 pesos (US$6857). Greenpeace and the Tubbataha Protected Area Management board both agreed there is a serious need of updated
www.greenpeace.org/international/news/rainbow_warrior_coral_reef – 26k – CachedSimilar pages

COMMUNITY INFORMATION:

The NOAA in the USA has extensive online resurces for communities and individuals to deal with issues and problems like this:

Dispersant Application Observer Job Aid A field guide for people who have completed training in dispersant application observation.

Dispersants: a Guided Tour Dispersants are one kind of countermeasure to oil spills. Here’s a basic explanation of what they are and how they work.

Environmental Spill Response Workshops Workshops that help spill responders build skills in analyzing complex spill events and making risk-based decisions that maximize long term environmental benefit.

Questions media should be asking in this case seen to be a little less asked could it be per what i’ve read and viewed these have not really been taken up for other reasons?

I did hear extensive discussion of the issue was happening for some- news editors, columnists, and a ad agency as well as representatives of a Petro-chemical Company.

hmmmm… School time at Classmates? Milelong study? Discussion over KTV? rumors I’m sure unfounded but still… might be interesting to find out if indeed that is true.

Some Ideas on this topic are:

Were the emergency wanrings issued to local communities – by the shipping company or shipper – were warnings sent to fishermen, Coast Guard, Navy, BFAR, DENR, within the critical first 12 hours described by international organizations who deal with Oil spills.
Well those are issues for local groups to look into in the investigation – Here’s a sample on alternative means to deal with an Oil spill both pre-spill (prevention) and post spill reporting:

HERES more from NOAA:

ARTES

During an oil or chemical spill, the On-Scene Coordinator (OSC), who directs the response, may be asked to consider using a non-conventional alternative countermeasure (a method, device, or product that hasn’t typically been used for spill response). To assess whether a proposed countermeasure could be a useful response tool, it’s necessary to quickly collect and evaluate the available information about it.

To aid in evaluating non-conventional alternative countermeasures in particular, the Alternative Response Tool Evaluation System (ARTES) was developed. ARTES can also be used to evaluate proposed conventional countermeasures. It is designed to evaluate potential response tools on their technical merits, rather than on economic factors. Under ARTES, an Alternative Response Tool Team (ARTT) rapidly evaluates a proposed response tool and provides feedback to the OSC in the form of a recommendation. The OSC then can make an informed decision on the use of the proposed tool. A set of forms (links below) has been developed for use in the ARTES process.

ARTES was designed by workgroups of Regional Response Teams (RRTs) II and III. (RRTs are teams of Federal response specialists.) ARTES is now in place in RRT II (New Jersey and New York) and RRT III (Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, and West Virginia). (If you would like more information about the RRTs, please use the links at the end of this page.)

Flowchart of the ARTES process before and after a spill.
ARTES Flowchart: A map of the process

ARTES is designed for two uses:

  • to evaluate a product’s appropriateness for use during a specific incident, under specific circumstances.
  • as a pre-evaluation to identify conditions under which favorable outcomes are anticipated when a product is used.

An advantage of ARTES is that it provides a management system for addressing the numerous proposals submitted by vendors and others during a spill. Subjecting all proposals to the same degree of evaluation also ensures that vendors are considered on a “level playing field.”

ARTES can be used before an incident as well as during a response. If an OSC would like to consider an alternative response tool during pre-spill planning, he or she can use ARTES to evaluate the tool. Over time, the hope is that having a record of proposals on file will enable an OSC to address alternatives for future needs.

There are two ways that the ARTES process can be initiated, generally speaking:

  • When no spill response is in progress, a vendor can approach the OSCs (Federal or State) or Regional Response Team (RRT) members to request that a product be evaluated. It then falls on the OSC or RRT representative to determine the value of performing an ARTES evaluation on the product. In effect, the OSC and RRT representative perform first-line screening. If either the OSC or RRT representative decides that it would be appropriate for a product to be evaluated, he or she then must submit a written request for an ARTES evaluation to the Spill Response Countermeasures Workgroup chairperson at the appropriate RRT.
  • During a spill, only the OSC, the Unified Command, the Planning Section Chief, or the Operations Section Chief can initiate an evaluation. They would do so in response to an identified need.

Either before or during a spill, once a proposed response tool passes this initial screening step, it must be thoroughly evaluated. The vendor needs to provide complete and comprehensive information on the product by filling out the Proposal Worksheet (PWS). The information in the PWS is then reviewed by a Response Tool Subcommittee (during the planning phase) or by the Alternative Response Tool Team (during spill response operations). If the PWS is sufficient, the teams evaluate the data, provide recommendations (either to accept or not accept) to the RRT and OSC, and the report is then archived.

Completion of an ARTES evaluation does not mean that a product is pre-approved, recommended, licensed, certified, or authorized for use during an incident. Spill response products such as dispersants, shoreline cleaners, and biological agents must conform to Federal regulations meant to protect our water resources and ensure that products used for spill response undergo review and testing before they are approved for use. Approved products are listed on the National Contingency Plan (NCP) Product Schedule (link below).

An OSC need not wait for the ARTES recommendation when deciding whether to use a response tool. ARTES is designed to help, not hinder, the OSC.

Elsewhere on the web
  • Regional Response Team III RRT III is the federal component of the National Response System for the states of West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealths of Pennsylvania and Virginia. [leaves OR&R site]
  • Adobe Reader Download the latest version of Adobe Reader. [leaves OR&R site]
ARTES Forms
These reports are PDF (Portable Document Format) files that you can fill and print out, or download for later use. To view them, you’ll need the Adobe Reader (see link below).
  • Alternative Response Tool – Proposal Worksheet (PWS) The Proposal Worksheet (PWS) is the initial information requested from a vendor prior to an evaluation. This is the sheet that someone asking for an ARTES evaluation must use to submit their data.
    (Document format: PDF, size: 119.6 K )
  • Alternative Response Tool – Summary Evaluation Worksheet (SEW) The Summary Evaluation Worksheet (SEW) is the final sheet filled out by the review committee, sent to the vendor (submitter) and archived with the District Response Advisory Team (DRAT; U.S. Coast Guard spill responders who support the OSC).
    (Document format: PDF, size: 313.5 K )
  • Alternative Response Tool – Operational Needs Survey (ART-ONS) The Operational Needs Survey (ONS) is used only during an actual spill. It is used by the Operations or Planning Unit to identify short-term or long-term needs. That information is then used to solicit technologies to fill those needs.
    (Document format: PDF, size: 60.4 K )

Related information on our site

Dean Bernardo’s Column:

Damage Done! Damage Can Not Be Undone!

 

 

August 18, 2006 – (Manila) – The island province of Guimaras located in the the western portion of the Visayas region in Central Philippines is now under an ecological disaster. Guimaras Island province was created as a separate province from Iloilo in 1992 with its capital Jordan. The island boosts itself as an alternative tourist destination for its “virginal” coastlines. A young Lt. Douglas McArthur fell in love with the island and had himself built a resort with a wharf in 1903, which is still standing. The province is also a major producer and exporter of the sweet mango fruit (declared and certified by the United States Department of Agriculture as pest free). The entire island has a total land area of 604.6 square kilometer and can be reached by pump boat from Iloilo City. Accidents are accidents and one can’t blame any or be blamed by anyone as long as there is a rational act of prevention but in the case of what happened to Guimaras is a story of an accident waiting to happen. An oil tanker named MV Solar 1, contracted by the Saudi Aramco owned oil company Petron, was traversing the straight near Guimaras island when it capsized due to rough weather and is now spilling over half a million barrels of industrial oil. The tanker is now submerged under 900 meters of water and is still leaking, already causing damage to 19.5 nautical miles of pristine mangrove coast of Guimaras, a breeding ground to over 100 species of fish in an area where fishing is the main source of income to over a million residents living in the coastlines. The oil slick is being trashed by rough waters and aerial inspection reveals that it is about to reach neighboring islands as well as the famed beach resort and premier tourist destination of the Philippines, the island of Boracay. The long term ecological damage of the oil slick is still undetermined and as of this time, the Philippine government is scurrying about to prevent the oil slick from causing further damage. Over 1,110 hectares of mangrove on Guimaras island is now damaged with an oil slick including 26 hectares of the Taklong Island Marine Reserve and the extent of the damage will continue to spread with the inability of the government to handle such a large accident. The Philippine Coast Guard has deployed a single scooper vessel to vacuum off the oil slick as efforts to put booms to contain the oil slick has failed due to the weather conditions in the area as affected by an intensified southwest monsoon in the area. The government has also declared its need for international assistance to prevent the oil from destroying the ecological system in the area, declaring that the damage is so extensive that it can no longer manage this latest crisis alone. Emergency teams in Malaysia who specialized in ecological accidents like this are being asked to assist while the Defense Department who manages disaster coordination will ask the U.S. government for assistance. This latest damage is not just a major long-term concern that will severely affect the ecological system of fish-rich waters and to the pristine beach coastlines but it would also affect the livelihood of people in the area who depend on fishing as their only source of income. This incident is nothing new, it has happened several times on a smaller manageable scale like last year when a similar oil spill accident happened in the same region. Fortunately the incident was not as extensive as feared and the ecological damage has been controlled. Again this is another case of learning from one’s mistakes and never doing it again. Blame Mother Nature for her harshness with regards to the weather conditions that over turned the oil tanker. Sure, why blame ourselves with our own ineptness and arrogance! Damage has been done and the damage can not be undone. Here again is another story of how we never took care of our natural resources and took for granted everything because we never thought first and considered the risks. What could be more distressing in this case is that we know what damage has been done and we do have our moments of regrets but memories are short and not so sweet, forgetting and doing the same thing all over again. When will this country ever learn? At this stage, and in this manner, an entire generation is not enough to make the change and for us to remember, never again. * * *

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