Coast Guard on alert vs fears of possible oil spill of M/V Ocean King 2

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) authorities in Liloan, Southern Leyte are now concerned about a possible oil spill from the passenger roro vessel M/V Ocean King 2 owned and operated by Mandaue City-based Sea Marine Transport Corp. which beached itself near the port of Benit in San Ricardo town, Southern Leyte, last July 28.

PCG PO1 Patrio E. Romero in an interview said that they have already conducted a site survey and currently monitoring for a possible oil spill.

The Coast Guard said that while the vessel does not represent a hazard to navigation in its current location, there is still a risk that an oil spill could occur if the vessel’s hull is breached. PO1 Romero, however, assured the public that they have already laid some precautionary oil spill boom around the vessel.

“We have already contained the area,” said PO1 Romero.

It may be recalled that last Tuesday, July 28 the vessel left from Lipata port in Surigao City around noon time with 121 passengers consisting of 119 adults, two children and 26 crew as well as 13 vehicles and tons of cargo. The vessel, which was bound for Liloan port, encountered strong winds and huge waves while passing near Maasin, Southern Leyte.

Reports bared that the strong waves broke the lashing of the vehicles in the rolling cargo hold causing these to slide towards the starboard side of the vessel. The sudden shift of the rolling cargo prompted the vessel to list 80 degrees to starboard. The heavy listing caused seawater to enter the starboard side. To save the vessel, the captain diverted to the port of Benit. As the vessel maneuvered to dock at the pier, the engines backing gears failed to engage. The vessel captain then decided to beach the vessel and dropped the port and starboard anchors about 20 meters from the pier.

Cesar Seruelo, Sea Marine Transport Corp. Surigao City Branch Manager in an interview said that after the incident the 121 passengers were then disembarked and ferried to the pier safely.

Seruelo also said that they have given the passengers free meals and arranged free transportation in going to Liloan, Southern, Leyte.

“We have also transported some of their family members in going to Liloan for free yesterday. They will just have to coordinate our office in Liloan for a free transpo in coming back to Surigao,” Seruelo added.

He also said that the vessel captain and crew are still on the area to monitor the situation of the stricken vessel. (PIA-Surigao del Norte)

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