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Oil Spill Contained At Earliest: Bala

The cargo vessel MV Southern Phoenix which sank in the Suva Harbour was highlighted in Parliament yesterday. This is after Opposition Leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa asked if there were measures
23 May 2017 11:12
Oil Spill Contained At Earliest: Bala
The sunken ship, MV Southern Phoenix at the Suva Harbour on May 6, 2017. Photo: Divesh Kumar / Tech360 Fiji.

The cargo vessel MV Southern Phoenix which sank in the Suva Harbour was highlighted in Parliament yesterday.

This is after Opposition Leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa asked if there were measures in place to control any environmental damage caused by the oil spill from the vessel.

In response, Minister for Local Government, Housing, Environment, Infrastructure and Transport, Parveen Bala said a team of divers had been deployed by Government to seal off any opening from the fuel tanks.

On the day of the incident, he said the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji, Fiji Ports Corporation Limited and other stakeholders took the responsibility as the first respondents to remove oil around the ship.

Mr Bala said on the same day the vessel owner and a team from Government had made arrangements to deploy divers daily to monitor the situation of any oil spill.

As a matter of national interest, he told the House that an investigation was currently being conducted and that a report would be tabled before Parliament once it was completed.

As a supplementary question, Ro Teimumu said that villages in Lami had sighted some oil spills on their shores.

She added if there were measures in place to protect the environment from oil spills.

In response, Mr Bala said that the spill from the ship was removed immediately by the team.

“This is very unfortunate that this has happened, the scope of work given to the investigating team to come up with all plans,” he said.

SODELPA Opposition MP Anare Vadei than asked if Ports had the capacity to prevent such incidents in the future.

Mr Bala said it was unfortunate that the incident happened and it was due to off balance.

SODELPA Opposition MP, Viliame Gavoka said that the port in Suva was now unattractive to cruise liners

Mr Bala said a major upgrade on ports would start soon.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

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