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Power-generating barge explosion causes oil spill off coast of Philippines

06 July 2020

An explosion on a power barge on July 3 caused around 48,000 litres of bunker fuel to leak into the Iloilo Strait off Iloilo City, central Philippines. No injuries or deaths were reported, however the leak caused around 120 households to be evacuated from the local area.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

The impacted barge, which has a capacity of around 200,000 litres of oil, is owned by AC Energy. The company said that as of 22:00 on July 3, the spill had been contained and that clean-up operations were underway. An initial investigation found that the initial explosion was caused by the ignition of fuel onboard the barge which caused damage to a fuel tank.

More than 170 AC Energy employees and the coast guard battled a strong current and used spill booms to contain the spill. AC Energy said that it expects the clean-up to take between 10-15 days.

It is thought that the spill impacted around 1,200 square metres of the Iloilo Strait before it was contained, however some oil managed to escape.

Families living near the barge’s location were evacuated due to the fumes produced by the explosion. An investigation has been opened by the coast guard to determine the caused of the blast and bring any criminal charges against the barge operator if required.

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