DAVAO CITY, Aug. 7 (PNA) — Officers of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)-Southeastern Mindanao led Friday’s oil-spill containment-simulation exercise held at the Mintebros Port in Barangay Ilang, Tibungco, this city, to test and evaluate its oil spill response capability. The exercise also involved PCG’s partners and other agencies.
Lt. Commander August Dann Carino, chief of the Philippine Coast Guard-Sta. Ana expressed readiness of his unit to handle oil-spill incidents given the existence of its oil spill contingency plan.
He assured the preparedness of the PCG’s capability to control, mitigate, recover and rehabilitate in the event of an oil spill in the Davao Gulf area.
Carino urged land-based companies and depots to come up with their own oil-spill contingency plan.
“Oil spill impacts on the beach resorts and marine-protected areas by damaging the environment and its bio-diversity,” he pointed out.
Commodore Joselito de la Cruz, commander of the PCG-Southeastern Mindanao area, in his assessment, said there is still a big room for the capabilities of all agencies and stakeholders involved to improve.
He said the PCG just showed how to lay down the oil-spill boom used to contain oil- spill incidents with the use of the existing available equipment.
“If a massive oil-spill occurs, we need to use bigger vessels and we need more oil-spill combating equipment. Our sole purpose is to come up with a contingency plan and common procedures and to get the cooperation among stakeholders in the Davao Gulf area,” de la Cruz said.
He said it was the first time that the oil and shipping companies and PCG come together to discuss common protocols and reporting oil-spill incidents.
De la Cruz assured that there will be follow-up activities to improve the capability and preparedness of all stakeholders.
He admitted it is more challenging to handle oil-spill response during bad weather when the sea is rough, especially when the boats used are small.
De la Cruz said that given strong winds and big waves, oil-spill operation needs bigger vessels and more tug boats.
“It is a matter of pooling all these resources together to be used when an incident occurs,” he said. (PNA)