Fishing halted in Aklan town amid oil spill

On-scene monitoring by New Washington Mayor Jessica R. Panambo, Punong Barangay Alex Dela Cruz, and Philippine Coast Guard personnel. (New Washington MDRRMO photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The local government of New Washington in Aklan has ordered the suspension of fishing activities in several areas following an oil spill incident at a shipyard in Barangay Polo on May 26.

Authorities have also monitored traces of oil sheen in Barangay Poblacion (Sitio Malogo, Kamingawan, Lagatik, Riverside) and Barangay Tambak (Sitio Kamangahan).

In response to the escalating affected areas, Mayor Jessica Regenio-Panambo issued an executive order on May 28, suspending all fishing activities and the harvesting of aquatic resources in the affected areas.

“The contamination of aquatic resources following the oil spill can lead to possible environmental and health concerns,” she said.

Investigations revealed that the oil leak came from a barge under maintenance at the shipyard. The barge is owned by Metallica Shipyard.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Sub-Station in Dumaguit estimates that approximately 150 liters of oil were spilled.

After receiving the incident report, the local government created a task force to contain and mitigate the impact of the spill.

Ongoing clean-up efforts include deploying spill booms, manual scooping, and using marine oil absorbent mats or pads.

According to the PCG, their team conducted manual collection, while shipyard employees used heavy equipment to haul oil-contaminated debris. Metallica Shipyard also hired 39 workers to help with oil and debris recovery.

The shipyard has pledged to cover all damages. No injuries have been reported from the incident.

Operations at Metallica Shipyard have also been temporarily suspended, according to the local government.

New Washington, known as the “seafood capital” of Aklan, primarily produces oysters, crabs, and prawns.

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