The oil sludge recovered from the beaches of Guimaras Island, Philippines will be used as fuel to manufacture cement, Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr. said Thursday. On Sunday, a barge with a capacity of 2,500 metric tons will arrive in Guimaras to collect the sludge and bring it to the Holcim Cement plant in Oriental Mindoro, Cruz, who heads the multi-agency Task Force Guimaras, said.
"The oil sludge will be burned as fuel to manufacture cement," Cruz said during a meeting of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), which he chairs. Five dump trucks will load the bunker fuel onto the barge, which will be docked on an abandoned pier, he said.
The MV Solar 1 sank in rough seas off Guimaras on August with two million liters of bunker fuel. Since then, experts believe it has leaked some 1.3 million liters of oil, damaging beaches, marine reserves and fishing grounds in the area.
Petron Corporation, which chartered the tanker, will pay a processing fee to Holcim but the amount has yet to be determined, said spokesperson Virginia Ruivivar. The oil firm also chartered the Japanese salvage ship Shinsei Maru, which deployed a remote-operated submersible that located the sunken tanker in the Panay Gulf on Thursday. Cruz said it would take two to three days to examine the wreckage and another two to three days more to study how the ship could be salvaged.