© Greenpeace/Gavin Newman. Mangrove Roots and new shoots coated with Oil from the sunken Petron-chartered single hull vessel oil tanker in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras Island. Philippines.
The last few weeks has brought a lot of bad news about oil spills - there was the bombing by Israeli forces of oil tanks in Jiyeh, Lebanon.Meanwhile, 5.3 million litres of crude oil was spilled off the coast of India, when the Bright Artemis oil tanker collided with a smaller cargo ship it was trying to assist.
Worst of all, the Solar 1 sank in rough seas off the Philippines, spilling 200,000 litres (53,000 gallons) of bunker oil - with more escaping since - we estimate there's 100 to 200 litres of oil an hour pumping out into the ocean. Lying in deep water, recovery of the ship is unlikely, creating an ecological time bomb - it's got another 1.8 million litres (475,000 gallons) of bunker fuel on board.
The Esperanza is currently in the Philippines, helping the Coastguard to deal with the effects of the spill. At the moment, there are remote communities and disaster areas that haven't yet been reached by aid or relief workers; rare species of mangroves already showing signs of deterioration - the same mangroves that sustain important fish and crustacean species and usually provide a barrier to more 'natural' disasters.
Our crew people in the Philippines have been working hard, using the Esperanza and inflatables to deploy booms to try to contain some of the mess - nasty work, but it's got to be done. You can help too - become an Ocean Defender!
From the Defending our Oceans weblog:
"I am 12 years old and I live in Citio Lusaran on the island of Guimaras. I am in Grade 6 now, my favourite subjects are mathematics and sports. In my spare time I go swimming and fishing. I learned to fish when I was seven years old. On friday 12 august I was on my way back from school along the beach when I found it all black. I didn't know what it was and thought it was just some mud the sea had brought in and that would go away quickly. But than I heard in the radio it was oil." - Francisco, schoolboy from Guimaras, Philippines
Read more: Oil spills - Philippines, Indian Ocean and Lebanon »
Keep up with the Philippines pollution expedition on the Esperanza »
BBC: 'Damage is done' to Lebanon coast »
Philippines Struggles to Contain Oil Spill »
Oil slick and environmental consequences of conflict in the Middle East »