Sep 232014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/09/06MANILA3685.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA3685 2006-09-05 07:04 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO0693
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #3685 2480704
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 050704Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2776
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 2848
RULSJGA/COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUSICWP/COMLOGGRUWESTPAC SINGAPORE IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
UNCLAS MANILA 003685

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/EX AND EAP/MTS
STATE PASS EPA
STATE PASS USAID
USDOC FOR NOAA/NMMS
USDA PASS FOREST SERVICE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EWWT TPHY EAID SOCI RP
SUBJECT: USG TEAM DELIVERS OIL SPILL ASSESSMENT TO PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT

REF: A) MANILA 03478

B) MANILA 03549

——–
SUMMARY
——–

¶1. A USG oil spill response team has been assessing damage caused
by the oil spilled by tanker “Solar I” in the Guimaras Strait since
August 24 and delivered its findings to the Philippine government on
September 1. The team has been invited by the Philippine Coast
Guard to remain and continue rendering technical advice. Also at
the Philippine government’s request, USG agencies have delivered
satellite imagery of the spill area. End Summary.

—————————
U.S. STRIKE TEAM ACTIVITIES
—————————

¶2. Three oil spill experts from the U.S. Coast Guard and one
scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(the Pacific Strike Team or PST) partnered with the Philippine Coast
Guard and experts from the Department of Environmental and Natural
Resources (DENR) to conduct ground and aerial surveys on August 24.
The team observed Coast Guard meetings, continuing oil release
dispersant application, oil containment by booms, and workers
involved in beach clean up.

¶3. The PST has been giving Coast Guard officers regular feedback,
resulting in various improvements. Beach workers were initially
observed without protective gear, but now have a consistent supply
of rubber boots and gloves for beach clean up. The PST was
concerned about disposal of the contaminated material, which was
placed on the beach in thin plastic bags, which could easily break,
polluting the beach or being washed back to the sea. A PCG officer
said the PCG took recommendations to find temporary storage for this
debris, and ordered two barges to transfer the refuse to temporary
storage on a neighboring island. From there, the contaminants will
be sent for processing at a disposal facility near Batangas as soon
as approved by local officials there.

¶4. While the U.S. Coast Guard team members have been concentrating
on oil spill containment and dispersion, the NOAA scientist on the
team along with scientists sent by the tanker’s insurer and DENR’s
mangrove specialist has been mapping damage. In addition to
pinpointing damage and suggesting remediation, the NOAA scientist
has offered to help the GRP address worker safety for the cleaning
crews and craft messages alerting the public that it is safe to fish
for and consume seafood. NOAA also submitted satellite images and
their interpretation for use by the GRP.

¶5. The team’s initial findings were submitted to the National
Disaster Coordination Council on August 31. The eleven-point
assessment congratulates the Philippine Coast Guard for its hard
work, identifies equipment shortages, recommends organizational
changes to enhance efficient response, and suggests strategies for
dealing with the media. The team has committed to stay at least
another week to continue to give technical advice, assist in the set
up of a new command post, and help formulate a public awareness
campaign.

————————-
INDEMNITY FUNDS AVAILABLE
————————-

¶6. Vessel owner Sunshine Marine Development Corporation is strictly
liable for physical and consequential damages under maritime law.
The corporation has $7 million available through its primary
insurer. If this amount is exhausted, the Philippine government and
claimants such as fishermen can tap into the additional $310 million
available from the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund.
Total damages from this spill have not been estimated. The
condition of the vessel and amount of remaining oil are also
unknown.

JONES

   

 

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