MANILA (UPDATE) - All vessels, except cargo, are no longer allowed within 2.5-kilometers from Manila Bay's shoreline to avoid pollution, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said Monday.
Cimatu made the remark after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) found that the liquid waste in the vicinity of the Manila Yacht Club near Manila Bay was from the cooling system of MV Sarangani.
Vessels that will cross the 2.5-kilometer periphery will be penalized automatically, the environment chief said.
According to him, only vessels delivering sand will be allowed to dock near the shores of Manila Bay.
The PCG said its Marine Environmental Protection Group collected samples to determine the cause of water discoloration surrounding MV Sarangani.
It also issued an inspection apprehension report to the ship's owner Emil Neri for violation of marine pollution.
The possible oil spill spread measured about 500 meters, said Kenneth Amurao, officer-in-charge of Department of Public Works and Highways-Manila, citing data from the DENR.
Violation of the city's environment code can lead to a penalty of P600 for the first offense or to closure of establishment, and revocation of business permit if fourth offense is committed, Amurao told Manila Mayor Isko Moreno in a letter dated April 26.
The oiler of MV Sarangani, Escolastico Bunyi, had said that the vessel has been in the area for some months already because it needed to be fixed.
He denied oil was discharged.
"Galing din po 'yan sa ilalim, sa dagat din. Kapag pinaaandar 'yong makina dahil cooling po yan, seawater na may posibilidad na puwedeng sumipsip siya at papalabas ulit," Bunyi said.
--With reports from April Rafales and Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News