PCG confirms oil spill in Batanes
By Jason de Asis

NORTHERN LUZON COMMAND, Tarlac, December 7, 2010–The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) confirmed yesterday morning the oil spill in Batanes province which is estimated 1.5 to 2 nautical miles long and thick as it was initially reported by Taiwan Coast Guard.

The PCG initial air surveillance revealed that the oil spill’s southern tip is located 140 nautical miles from the northern tip of Ilocos.

Although the oil spill is deemed to have no direct or significant threat to Philippine coastline and marine environment due to big and strong waves in the area and prevailing north-easterly winds that could naturally disperse and let the oil spill to evaporate, PCG Commandant Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo directed the marine environmental protection personnel to monitor the oil spill in the site.

However, Tamayos said that the PCG will continue their monitoring in the nearby areas to ensure that the oil spill will remain isolated, adding that the PCG and the Taiwan Coast Guard will also continue to search for the 10 missing Chinese crew of MV Hong Wei that sank near Itbayat Island in Batanes last Friday.

Two survivors are already in the custody of the Taiwan Coast Guard after they were rescued from the sea while the remaining 12 survivors were on board a passing Chinese cargo vessel MV Shun Tong after they were rescued by the PCG.

Prior to this, the ill fated Panamanian registered cargo vessel was on its way to Shan Tong China from Indonesia before it sank Friday afternoon. (Jason de Asis)