Oil spill from sunken ship in Philippines affects 7,413 coastal acres

Aug. 18, 2013 at 11:17 AM
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TALISAY, Philippines, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Oil from a sunken ship in the central Philippines reached the shorelines of Cordova Sunday, affecting 7,413 acres of the town's coastal area, officials said.

Coast guard officials said that before the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas sank, it was loaded with 31,700 gallons of bunker oil, 5,283 gallons of lube oil and 5,283 gallons of diesel.

Fumes from the oil spill may pose a health risk to residents in the area, coast guard officials told the GMA News, and some are having trouble breathing due to the smell.

If the oil is not cleaned up within one to three months, the oil could also destroy the area's mangrove trees.

Authorities resumed searching for 85 people missing following the ship collision, which occurred in the province of Cebu.

The St. Thomas Aquinas sank after colliding with the M/V Sulpicio Express 7 cargo vessel in Cebu Friday night. A combined total of 870 passengers and crew were on both ships.

The rescue mission was called off Saturday evening due to high waves, but resumed at 8 a.m. Sunday.

"Hopefully more missing can be found alive," said Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, the Philippine Star reported.

During the search Sunday morning, two bodies were recovered from the water, bringing the death toll to 34, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

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