TACLOBAN CITY – Owners of 15 vessels that ran aground and stranded during the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda are given until mid-February to either retract or salvage the vessel or else the government will take over the job.
Philippine Coast Guard Tacloban station commander Paul Gonzales warned that if owners will fail to remove the vessels by February 15, the government will assume the responsibility at the cost of the owners though.
“After February 15, the government will do it in harsh way. We will ask contractors to salvage or retract the vessels at the expense of ship owners. We can also recommend to MARINA to cancel their franchise,” Gonzales told reporters.
As of this week, only four vessels have started efforts to retract ships. These are the M/V Eva Jocelyn of Eva Shipping Lines in Mandaue City, M/V David of Candano Shipping Lines in Tabaco City, M/V Rosman owned by Richmond Ng in Quezon City, and M/V Lancer of Matsya Shipping in Cebu City.
Two other vessels has filed salvage permit. These are the M/V Gayle and M/V RKK Uno both owned by the Unilink Shipping Lines in Mandaue City.
“For other ships, we are still waiting for their application. We still have to find out their intentions to retract, refloat or make it a scrap,” Gonzales added.
To facilitate the recovery, the PCG allows the issuance of emergency salvage permit that can be approved by the Coast Guard offices in Cebu and Tacloban instead of the regular permit that only the main office is authorized to issue.
Those vessels with no application are two tug boats and a barge owned Vicente Lao Construction based in Davao City; M/V Star Hilongos of Roble Shipping Lines Inc. in Cebu City; M/V Jaguar of Tacloban Oil Mills (TOMI) in Tolosa, Leyte; M/V TOMI Elegance also of TOMI; and a dredger of the Department of Public Works and Highways main office.
M/V Ligaya-V of Avega Brothers Integrated Shipping Corp. in Makati City; M/V Eastern Star of Lilygene Shipping Lines Inc in Guiuan, Eastern Samar. Ownership of M/V Lady of Fatima, the only ship submerged off the coast of Guiuan, is still unknown.
These ships have been stranded and ran aground since November 8, 2013 during Yolanda’s onslaught in this city, notably in Anibong district. Three are in coastal villages Quinapondan and Guiuan in Eastern Samar.
Ronnie V. Arevalo, a contractor of Manila-based Dansyco Shipyard, the builder of M/V Eva Jocelyn said efforts to bring back the cargo ship to sea is the hardest job for them in their years of experience.
“The situation here is very different because the ship is stranded in a residential area and the soil is unstable due to debris, but we are confident of retracting this vessel within a month,” Arevalo said adding that they are spending nearly P100,000 weekly.