By Raymund Antonio
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Saturday it’s still waiting for the plan to extricate a ship stuck in Cagayancillo, Palawan before the salvage operation starts.
Ensign Allison Tindog, spokesperson of Coast Guard District in Palawan, said preparations are underway for the salvage operation of grounded ship M/V Forever Lucky.
“The salvor could be Harbor Star,” Tindog said, referring to the company that will remove the vessel from the grounding site.
M/V Forever Lucky ran aground on January 7 about 15 nautical miles northeast of Cagayancillo town while it was en route to General Santos from Bataan for dry docking and repairs.
This was the same vessel that was apprehended by authorities last year for its involvement in human smuggling activity in Orion, Bataan. The ship, bound to Micronesia, was found carrying 139 undocumented Filipinos.
Initial investigation showed M/V Forever Lucky drifted and later ran aground after the towing line that connects the ship to a tug boat got broken due to big waves and strong winds.
The ship’s crewmen were already brought to safety.
Tindog said the PCG divers will begin to determine the extent of the damage to the ship and assess whether it caused damage to coral reefs.
“There is a surface survey. Our Islander [aircraft] already conducted the aerial survey. Next is underwater survey. The PCG is ready,” the spokesman said in Filipino.
The maritime agency asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to determine if the grounding site is a marine protected area.
“We have to determine the best method to remove the vessel from the grounding site. This should not be rushed. A plan is needed,” he pointed out.
Tindog ruled out the occurrence of oil spill in the area after the grounding incident.
“Negative on the oil spill. It is impossible because the ship is only carrying 1,500 liters of diesel fuel,” he said.