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Gathering, eating shellfish banned in parts of Cavite due to oil spill


Some of Cavite's prized seafood delicacies, especially mussels (or tahong), are among the primary victims of the widening impact of Thursday's oil spill in Manila Bay, as collecting and eating shellfish were banned in parts of Cavite province Friday.
 
"Doon lang sa affected area, hindi buong Cavite. Siguradong may amoy yan, kung naroon ang oil kakapit yan," Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director Asis Perez said in an interview on dzBB radio.
 
Oil spill reaches waters off a fishing port in Rosario, Cavite, and continues to spread to 12 other coastal barangays in the province on Friday, local officials say. Danny Pata
He said BFAR is hoping residents in affected areas will be responsible enough not to try and sell the contaminated shellfish.
 
Earlier, the Coast Guard said the oil spill had affected Rosario and Naic towns and had reached the border of Ternate.

The latest estimate is that 500,000 liters of oil have leaked from what is believed to be the underwater pipeline of Petron in Cavite.
 
State of calamity in Rosario

The town of Rosario, where Petron maintains an oil facility, has declared a state of calamity due to the oil spill to prevent hoarding and a spike in the prices of commodities.

"Mas masahol pa sa tinamaan ng bagyo rito eh, ang naapektuhan siyam na barangay namin. Ang langis makikita mo sa shoreline," said Rosario Mayor Jose Ricafrente, adding that residents with asthma and respiratory problems are particularly at risk.

"Simula kahapon hanggang kagabi, amoy gasolina talaga. Kung nag-evaporate [ang diesel], kasama ito sa ere," he said.


View Cavite Oil Spill in a larger map

A separate report by dzBB's Sam Nielsen said the Rosario municipal government has discouraged residents from collecting some of the oil that washed ashore.
 
The report quoted local police as saying that while Mayor Ricafrente had initially offered to give rice in exchange for recovered oil, he withdrew the offer after learning of the impact that exposure to the oil may have on the public's health.

Charges vs. Petron

The Philippine Coast Guard, which conducted an aerial reconnaissance of the affected area early Friday, said the oil spill had caused many residents to fall ill due to the fumes,

PCG Marine Environmental Protection Command head Commodore Joel Garcia said they may file charges against Petron because of the incident.

"Humigit kulang 20 km by 15 km ang lawak sa dalampasigan ng Rosario at Naic, hanggang gitna ng laot papuntang Corregidor.... Nagpapatunay ito na makapal ang dagat ng langis," Garcia said in an interview on dzBB radio.

He said their initial estimates showed the diesel spilled off Rosario town and extended to Naic, and reached the border of a third town, Ternate.

Garcia said Coast Guard divers traced the source of the leak to Petron's pipeline Friday morning.

"Sa ngayon natukoy namin saan galing ang tagas. Nakita natin, initially may butas ang pipeline ng Petron terminal," he said in an interview on dzBB radio.

He said their efforts are now focused on patching the leak.

Petron statement

Earlier, the Coast Guard said initial laboratory analysis results showed a match between diesel samples taken from the water in the area and from the MT Makisig, which Petron said is owned by a Herna Shipping, a third-party contractor.

But in a statement, Petron said two pressure hydro tests cleared their pipeline as the source of the oil that spread into Manila Bay.

The company said its efforts are geared towards monitoring and recovery operations in the affected towns.

"As of this afternoon, there are minimal traces of sheen in the waters off Rosario and Tanza. Diesel is a non-persistent oil and we expect it to be dispersed soon," it said.

Spill booms

Garcia said the Coast Guard's marine environmental protection and Metro Manila units are in the area and have set up spill booms to prevent the further spread of the oil spill.
 
BFAR's Perez declined to give a timetable on when the affected areas would be able to recover from the incident.

He said a BFAR team is in the area to study the effects of the oil spill. "Hindi ko masasabi ngayon... Yan dapat aralin." — LBG/HS/YA, GMA News
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