The Coast Guard District Palawan (CGDP) said Friday there is “no oil spill or leakage” so far in the waters of Cagayancillo where the passenger MV Forever Lucky ran aground but it is possible from happening.
CGDP commander Commodore Allen Toribio said it must be removed in the waters of the town immediately to prevent the possibility although it is only carrying about 1,500 liters of diesel fuel.
“There is no cause for alarm regarding the alleged oil spill for now. But there is really a threat of an oil spill if the vessel will not be recovered soon. The threat of oil spill, however, is very minor considering that the volume of oil is only 1,500 liters. Also, the type of oil is diesel, so this is not a persistent oil. It will not persist in the marine environment,” Toribio explained in a media conference the CGDP called.
He said the supposed oil spill in the northeastern of Cagayancillo was reported to them on January 10 by concerned residents.
Toribio added they have already created a contingency plan and a team to operate in the area in case it happens.
“Huwag mag-alala ang mga Palaweño (Palaweños should not worry), we are getting organized to prevent the oil spill. We are also coordinating with the shipowner. Once ready na ang lahat (… everything is ready), the salvage team will start to recover the vessel. There is no cause for alarm and we are prepared,” he said.
Ensign Allison Tindog, the spokesperson of the CGDP, said that based on the result of their initial probe, the MV Forever Lucky ran ashore because the towing line that connects it to a tugboat got broken along the way.
He said strong winds and waves because of the prevailing northeast monsoon also aggravated the situation.
“Hinihila kasi ito ng tugboat papunta sa General Santos galing ng Bataan para doon mag-drydock. Kaya lang naputol ang towing line na nagco-connect kay MV Forever Lucky at sa tugboat dahil sa lakas ng alon at hangin. ‘Yon ang naging main cause,” he said.
(It was being pulled by a tugboat to General Santos from Bataan for drydocking. But the towing line that connects to MV Forever Lucky broke due to strong winds and waves. That’s the main cause.)
He said the ship crew presented its special permit to navigate from the maritime industry after it was banned from leaving the Philippines due to alleged human trafficking.
All 17 crewmen of the vessel are now in Puerto Princesa after their rescue. The CGDP was assisted in this by the Western Command (WESCOM) and the Naval Forces West (Navforwest) that sent BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF16).