Philippines -- Sunken vessel carried super-toxic pesticide (updates)
Rescuers from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the US Navy halted diving operations in to the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars when they found a super-toxic pesticide considered for global elimination.
According to GMANews.tv, Endosulfan was found in the ferry, which capsized off the coast of Romblon in Central Philippines on Saturday. Upon receiving information, authorities immediately stopped the retrieval of bodies inside the ship.
The shipment is undersigned to canned food manufacturer, Del Monte Philippines.
Greenpeace expressed outrage.
“It is outrageous that a shipment of a highly toxic substance was allowed on board a passenger vessel. We demand that Del Monte and the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority be made fully accountable for this unfolding chemical disaster, the former for continuing the use of such highly toxic chemical and the latter for allowing multinational companies to use them despite the national prohibition and the scientific evidence of their toxicity," said Beau Baconguis, Greenpeace Campaign Manager.
The PCG said that they did not know that the vessel contained such cargo.
Lieutenant Commander Armand Balilo said they did not know that the MV Princess of the Stars was carrying pesticides from Del Monte Philippines.
“It is SOP [standard operating procedure] that liners should file necessary permits to PCG and submit their vessels for proper storage and storage inspections. SLI did not adhere to the PCGs guidelines,” Balilo said, referring to the ship’s owner, the Sulpicio Lines Inc.
the owners of Sulpicio Lines may be facing more sanctions and possibly lawsuits for not declaring a shipment of hazardous chemical
Transportation and Communication Undersecretary Eleanor Bautista said that they learned about the chemical shipment on the sunken ferry from Del Monte.
She said Del Monte sent a letter to the Department of Agriculture’s Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority on June 24 advising that the sunken ferry is loaded with 400 cartons of the pesticide.
In another letter sent June 25, Del Monte reminded Sulpicio Lines about the hazardous shipment.
She said Sulpicio management did not inform the PCG about the shipment even after receiving the letter from Del Monte.
An official from the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) has claimed that no ill effects have so far been observed in the waters where the ship sank.