The salvor ship from Harbor Star Shipping that arrived in Balabac town Monday will only respond to the oil spill from MV Viet Hai Star that ran aground last week, as no official salvage company has been tapped to recover the vessel, Coast Guard Station Southwestern Palawan (CGSSWP) station commander CG Ens. Gabriel Infante clarified.
Infante said the mission of the salvor that arrived Monday afternoon was only to contain the oil spill from the cargo vessel and to clear affected areas.
“After arriving, they installed an additional oil spill boom around MV Viet Hai Star last night, and this morning, they fixed the boom and added weights to prevent it from drifting,” Infante told Palawan News in an interview.
“As for the vessel’s recovery, Harbor Star is not the contracted company for the salvage operation. There is still an ongoing negotiation. We do not know yet if they will refloat or chop it for recovery,” he added.
Infante further stated that after the salvor arrived, they stopped their manual scooping of the oil that spilled out of the vessel and turned the operation to Harbor Star. He said they are just monitoring the operation and are on standby.
“They have taken charge of the collection and containment of the oil including the shoreline cleanup. But if they still need additional manpower, we will help them as much as we can, along with the local government of Balabac,” he said.
As of Sunday, personnel of CGSSWP have collected nine drums of oily water mixture and oil-contaminated debris from the vessel and the shoreline and mangrove area of Balabac.
“As for the siphoning of the oil that is still inside the vessel, that will be done by the company that will be contracted to recover the vessel,” he added.