FISHERMEN plying the waters off Bolinao town have been assured by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) that the oil slick from a Myanmar vessel that sank last February 17 does not significantly affect the natural resources in the area.
A five-man team from BFAR immediately conducted an investigation at the site where the MV Arita Bauxite went down, which was about 1.5 nautical miles from the Bolinao port.
Dr. Westly Rosario, BFAR center chief in Dagupan City, said that based on the initial finding of the team, the affected area is only 2.5 kilometers by .5 kilometer and the total area of the oil slick is 1.25 square kilometers.
“Manipis lang (It was only thin)… it is insignificant,” Rosario said.
“If you compare the Bolinao port to a palm of a person, the oil slick was only a cut portion of a long nail,” he explained.
The team tried but failed to measure the depth of the sunken vessel “because maybe it was more than 200 meters deep” and their available instrument was not capable to reach beyond that depth, according to Rosario.
Nonetheless, Rosario said BFAR will continue to monitor the situation and its possible impact on the fishing industry.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has also concluded its search and rescue operations for the remaining 14 missing crewmen of the ship on the belief that they perished inside the sunken vessel.
One died, two were injured and seven were rescued alive by a passing Chinese ship, MV Jin Cheng, and brought them to the PCG office in Sual.—Eva Visperas