Salvors to finish endosulfan retrieval in 4 to 5 days


Posted at Oct 03 2008 12:56 PM | Updated as of Oct 03 2008 10:43 PM

Drums containing endosulfan scooped out of Sibuyan Island waters

Salvors are poised to finish within four to five days the recovery of the endosulfan shipment from the capsized M/V Princess of the Star off Sibuyan Island in Romblon province, a government official said Friday.

Task Force Princess of the Stars head Elena Bautista said that as of Friday noon, salvage crews from the titan Salvage and Harbor Star have recovered a total of 178 barrels of endosulfan from a 40-foot container van inside the capsized ferry.

"The weather has been very cooperative. From the 146 containers retrieved as of yesterday, we're now up to 178 containers. The task is being delivered quicker than expected. We should finish the retrieval of all the drums of endosulfan within the next four to five days," Bautista told ABS-CBN News Channel.

Reports said there were at least 400 drums or 10 metric tons of endosulfan inside the container van.

Bautista said so far, the toxic chemical has leaked from the drums. However, she said the salvors would not be able to assure that the toxic shipment has not leaked until the salvage operations are finished.

"We have opened the container from one end, and we still have not seen the end of the container. We only see the packages as we go along," she said.

Bautista had said that the salvors will start the recovery of the passengers' bodies from the capsized ferry right after the retrieval of all the endosulfan shipment.

“The salvage divers teams will next collect human remains from MV Princess of the Stars ‘C’ and ‘B’ decks guided by video from the remote-controlled submersible vehicle deployed by Titan Salvage,” Bautista said in a recent statement.

She said the retrieval of the remains will be closely observed by representatives of the National Bureau of Investigation, which will facilitate the identification of the bodies to be recovered from the ferry.

She had also asked the families of the missing passengers not to hold vigils in Sibuyan Island during the recovery operations.

Bautista said the bodies to be recovered from the ferry will be brought directly to Cebu.