Cargo ship capsizes, spills oil following collision in Manila Bay

Photo: Philippine Coast Guard

The Philippine Coast Guard is presently monitoring a collision incident that caused a yet-undetermined quantity of oil from one of the vessels involved to spill into the waters of Manila Bay.

The incident between the Cyprus-flagged dredging support workboat BKM 104 and the locally-registered cargo vessel Palawan Pearl occurred at the Manila Bay outer anchorage area at around 02:10 local time on Thursday, July 8.

The cargo vessel had just departed Manila’s Baseco Compound and was en route to El Nido in Palawan province in the western Philippines while the workboat was headed north in the opposite direction for Bulacan province.

Palawan Pearl‘s captain said his bridge crew did not notice the other vessel until it was already approximately 100 metres off their port bow.

The cargo vessel, which was cruising at seven knots, manoeuvred to avoid a collision. However, the workboat, which was running at 10 knots, still ended up striking the larger ship’s port side twice, causing the latter to capsize.

An oil sheen has also been sighted in the vicinity, prompting coast guard marine environmental protection personnel to place spill containment booms around the half-submerged vessel.

Palawan Pearl‘s second engineer told investigators that their vessel had around 3,000 litres of diesel in its fuel tanks as well as 60 litres of engine oil, five litres of bilge oil, and a separate barrel containing additional diesel when the collision occurred.

The workboat meanwhile suffered only slight damage. No injuries have been reported on either vessel.

The coast guard has since advised the crews of both vessels to file marine protests in connection with the incident, which is under investigation.

BKM 104 is being used by Netherlands-based Boskalis to support its ongoing dredging and reclamation activities in Bulacan as part of the €1.5 billion (US$1.84 billion) Manila International Airport construction project.

Editor’s note: This news story was updated at 07:40 UTC on July 8 after the Philippine Coast Guard disclosed additional key details of the events leading up to the collision and the subsequent capsizing.

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