The private contractor hired to clean up the oil spill in Iloilo has started drawing an estimated 1.5 million liters of oil from the fuel tanks of Power Barge (PB) 103 that run aground in Estancia, Iloilo during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
“We already took some 117,000 liters of oil out of the stricken power barge’s fuel tanks, as of 5 p.m., Saturday, December 7. The oil siphoned off PB 103 is being conveyed to the MT Obama, which has a capacity of 850,000 liters,” said former Army Capt. Sonny Sarmiento, incident commander of Kuan Yu Global Technologies Inc.
The state-run Power Sector Asset and Liabilities Management Corp., owner of the stranded barge, hired Kuan Yu to clean up the Estancia oil spill and salvage the vessel.
“We’re working 24/7 to quickly remove all the fuel, but we can’t tell when we’ll finish the job, because we don’t have confirmed data on the actual volume of oil left in the barge,” Sarmiento said.
“We can pump out and transfer up to 150,000 liters per hour, but we are now proceeding at a cautious rate of 50,000 per hour to avoid potential complications,” he added.
When PB 103 was detached from its moorings and marooned during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda, the floating power station was believed to be carrying 600,000 liters of industrial fuel oil plus 1.3 million liters of automotive diesel oil, of which some 386,000 liters have been accidentally discharged into the environment, based on initial estimates.
“As to the spilt oil, it is now contained in boom perimeters, and we’ve already collected 105,000 liters of fuel from the waters, plus another 47 tons of oil spill debris, as of 5 p.m., Saturday, December 7,” Sarmiento said.
“Kuan Yu has more than 300 locally hired personnel helping in the cleanup, particularly of affected shorelines in Estancia and elsewhere,” he stressed.
“Rest assured no effort is being spared to accelerate the cleanup. Cost is not even a factor because the insurer is covering all expenses,” Sarmiento said.