Today, Joaquin Nava, the Governor of the Philippine island hardest hit by a 350,000 litre oil spill, issued a desperate plea for help:
"We can only watch in horror how an oil spill can undo in a few days our initiatives which have taken decades to implement. We need all the support we can get."
A group of local fisherman from BrgyTando Village collect oil from beaches by hand.
Roughly 26,000 people who rely on fishing have lost their
livelihood. More than 1,100 hectares (2,400 acres) of marine
reserve has been destroyed - along with beach resorts, seaweed
farms and mangrove forests.
Carrying a science and documentation team, the Esperanza is now
on its way to the site of the spill.
"The Philippine Coast Guard is enlisting Greenpeace in this
short but vital impacts assessment work," said Commander Joseph M.
Coyme of the Philippine Coast Guard at a recent press conference.
"The information that Greenpeace and their partner scientists
provide will give us solid basis in continuing our oil spill
containment and mitigation work."
At the same press conference, Von Hernandez, Campaign Director
of Greenpeace Southeast Asia emphasized that it will take years to
rehabilitate the affected areas and communities. He then said, "We
reiterate our call on the government to make Petron and its
partners accountable for all the costs associated with this
The Esperanza will join the Coast Guard in a joint visual survey
of the hardest hit area. It is also transporting clean-up
containment equipment and relief goods donated by the ABS-CBN
Foundation and friends of Greenpeace.
Facts and figures about this and other recent spills.
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View the slideshow
Take a look at the damage that resulted from the worst oil spill in Philippine history.