Friday, July 25, 2008

Cleaning up sunk ferry mess expensive: Philippines.

This is from the Inquirer.
The cleanup of the mess left in the sunk ferry is going to cost millions. Hopefully Titan Salvage will be able to remove the toxic chemicals without too much trouble. For now Sulpico is not allowed to run its ferries according to this article and probably will only be allowed to carry cargo when it can run the ships.

Sulpicio signs deal for retrieval of ferry’s toxic cargo
Titan Salvage has month and a halfBy Riza T. OlchondraPhilippine Daily InquirerFirst Posted 19:46:00 07/24/2008
MANILA, Philippines -- After yet another extension in its deadline, Sulpicio Lines Inc. (SLI) has finally signed a contract to retrieve toxic cargo from the sunken MV Princess of the Stars.
SLI first vice president Edgar Go and Titan Salvage commercial manager Amit Wahil signed, at around 6:50 p.m. Thursday, the $7.55-million contract to retrieve the toxic cargo, bunker fuel and bodies still inside the ferry, SLI lawyer Victoria Florido said.
Florido said the company was "not at liberty" to disclose the name of the bank which gave the letter of credit assuring Titan's payment. This had been the bottleneck of negotiations for more than a week.
Officials estimated it would take about two weeks for Titan to mobilize its personnel and equipment, after which it would need about 30 days for the retrieval operations.
The current contract with Titan does not include the re-floating of the wreck, which would entail further negotiations.
Florido said the company chose to secure the contract for the retrieval of the toxic cargo first "to diffuse the ticking ecological bomb" as a result of the prolonged exposure to corrosive seawater of the highly.
Operations to retrieve the hundreds of bodies believed trapped inside the sunken ferry’s hull were stopped after it was learned that the ship had been carrying 10 metric tons of the highly toxic pesticide endosulfan owned by food company Del Monte.
Aside from this, another chemical shipment, this time owned by Bayer CropScience, was also onboard the vessel.
"First, the endosulfan and other toxic cargo will be removed. The bunker fuel will be removed next, and then the bodies that are still inside the wreck," Florido said.
In the meantime, grounded passenger ships of SLI may be allowed to sail with only cargo, SLI safety and quality assurance manager Nelson Morales said in a separate interview.
"We have not received official advice from Marina [Maritime Industry Authority], but as far as we know, if ever our passenger ships are allowed to sail again, it would just be to deliver cargo," he said. "This is just to maintain the flow of cargo throughout the country."

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