Recovery of Remaining Oil from Solar Days to Take Several Days

Thursday, February 22, 2007
The Italian sub-sea construction service provider will begin offloading oil from the sunken tanker Solar 1 on March 14. Although Sonsub International expects the offloading to be an easy job, they assured that they have contingency plans in the event of another oil spill.

Officials expect the offloading operations to last for about 25 days, but not shorter than 20 days, subject however to the amount of bunker fuel remaining in the ten cargo holds of Solar 1. It is estimated that by April 14, they will already be demobilizing their equipment.

It's not that we want to stay any longer, we just want to ensure that each tank is empty of oil, he added. Sonsub will be bringing in Allied Shield for the operation, which will be conducted round the clock.

Equipment, such as hull valve assemblies, which will be used in offloading the oil, have been fabricated to suit Solar 1's specifications. As part of their contingency plan, Galleti said that there will be at least two tugboats on the scene at all times. Marine experts, including the Philippine Coast Guard, have acknowledged the possibility of oil leaking out into the surface during the offloading operations.

The tugboats will be equipped with skimmers and oil spill booms, and capable of spraying oil dispersants. They will also have storage capabilities, aside from another vessel dedicated solely to storing oil. There will also be a stand by aircraft capable of not only spotting oil slicks but of spraying oil dispersants from the air, Galleti.

After that, a surface vessel will lower a steel container. Then they will pump seawater into the tanks. Once water is pumped into the tanks, the bunker fuel will flow up into the shuttle. Once full, the shuttle will be brought up and its contents transferred into steel containers on the surface vessel. Solar 1 was carrying two million liters of bunker fuel when it sunk under heavy seas off the coast of Guimaras August last year. Its sinking triggered the country's worst oil spill. Source: NewsToday

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