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Captain, crew of ship carrying toxic waste face raps for environmental crimes


The Chinese captain and Filipino crew of the ship found carrying 53,000 metric tons of toxic waste into the Philippines now face complaints for environmental crimes, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said Tuesday.

Operatives of the NBI and of the Philippine Coast Guard arrested two Chinese nationals and seven Filipinos allegedly involved in the dumping of tons of phosphogypsum, a radioactive substance, in Cabangan, Zambales last Saturday.

Phosphogypsum is a waste byproduct of the processing of phosphate rocks to yield phosphoric acid for fertilizer production. It is said to contain "naturally occurring radioactive elements."

Ship captain Huizu Hua and chief mate Wang Aimin were arrested alongside Danny Bañes, Clieford Calingacio, Alberto Rendon, Edgardo Aquino, Eddie Singuelo, and brokers Benjamin Bautista and Jesse Romano Sunga, the NBI said. 

They underwent inquest proceedings at the Department of Justice for violation of the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990 and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

The shipment consignee, Yori Yori Trading, does not have an importation clearance and import registry from the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources' (DENR) Environmental Management Bureau, the NBI said.

Alleged to have sailed from Gwangyang Port, South Korea, the ship, MV Dayang Century, had dumped no less than 10 tons of the substance onto Zambales when its captain and crew were arrested, an NBI official said.

Czar Eric Nuqui, chief of the NBI's environmental crimes division, said the cargo was soil-type and mud-like in texture but was declared as a white powder.

NBI deputy director and spokesman Ferdinand Lavin said the hazardous waste is now being monitored by the Coast Guard and the DENR and kept as evidence. — BM, GMA News