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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesThursday, August 22, 2013
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Oil spill affecting
1,000 fishermen

CEBU CITY – The oil spill from the passenger ferry that sank after a collision with a cargo vessel Friday night has affected the livelihood of some 1,000 fishermen in the fishing town of Cordova, Cebu.

Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy said the fishermen have not gone fishing since the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas of 2Go collided with cargo vessel M/V Sulpicio Express Siete off Talisay City.

The death toll in the collision has risen to 71, with 49 still reported missing.

Sitoy said the town cannot give them employment because there was no job opening.

But the town government, he said, will give assistance to the affected fishermen and their families. “They are helping in the cleanup efforts,” he said.

The St. Aquinas was carrying 20 tons of diesel oil and 120 tons of bunker fuel when it sank near Lawis Ledge in Talisay City.

It has since been leaking oil, with the slick moving with the direction of the waves and the current towards the coastal barangays of Cordova.

The oil spill has taken its toll in the marine resources in the town, with some 120 kilos of “pugapo” or grouper fish reported dead because of the oil spill in Barangay Bangbang, Cordova.

The fish is sold live in restaurants at P450 per kilo.

But Sitoy said the oil spill has not yet affected the town’s saltwater eels, popularly known as “bakasi.”

“This is our substitute for Viagra," he said of the eels that are believed to be aphrodisiacs.

He said fishermen were still catching the eels because the oil spill has not reached Barangay Buagsong, where they are abundant.

Sitoy said they were busy in the cleanup efforts even if yesterday was a holiday.

He said he is thankful the Gilutongan Marine Sanctuary, where they get their tourism income, was spared.

Several sacks of human hair from salons and coconut husks were brought to Barangay Day-as, Cordova to be used in containing the oil.

Four platoons from the Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard were also deployed to barangays in Cordova to help contain the spill. Each platoon was composed of 45 Coast Guard personnel, and 120 from the Air Force and Navy.*PNA

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