Philippine Daily Inquirer
BOLINAO, PANGASINAN -- The local government of this town plans to sue the owners of the Indonesian barge, which ran aground off Ilog Malino village and spilled 8,373 metric tons of coal into the area in November last year.
Mayor Alfonso Celeste said the local government has not decided yet on the amount it will demand in damages from the Indonesian owners of the barge APOL 3003. The University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) based here estimated the environmental damage at P54.9 million.
The barge was being towed by a tug boat on its way from Indonesia to the power plant in Sual town on Nov. 27 when strong winds and big waves caused by Typhoon “Mina” broke its anchor and rope.
The barge was hurled to the reef in Ilog Malino. The impact destroyed its metal flat sheet railing cargo fence, spilling 95 percent of its cargo.
“We still don’t know how much to demand,” Celeste said. The UPMSI said its estimated amount, which includes payment for 10 years for the rehabilitation of the damaged area, was “conservative.”
Celeste said the social aspect, such as the loss of fishermen’s livelihood and the amount spent for the cleanup of the area, should be included in the computation.
The UPMSI said the coal spill spread to 33 hectares of coral and sea grass areas. It said the spillage of tons of hard coal and the damage caused by the barge had directly harmed marine life in the area.
The grounded barge also became a “gigantic artificial structure” in the area, it said.
First Posted 01:17am (Mla time) 01/13/2008