Philippines oil spill

Feature story - August 19, 2006
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.  

Esperanza enroute

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 disaster".

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.

Esperanza crew weblog.

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View the slideshow

Take a look at the damage that resulted from the worst oil spill in Philippine history.