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Coral reef area damaged by cargo vessel that ran aground off Sarangani Bay

Coral reef area damaged by cargo vessel that ran aground off Sarangani Bay
Ellalyn de Vera Ruiz May 4, 2020

Around 45 square meters of coral reef area was damaged when a 125-foot local cargo and fishing vessel accidentally ran aground off Sarangani Bay after delivering goods in General Santos City last May 1, authorities said yesterday.

This was estimated by a composite team from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Region 12 (DENR-Soccsksargen), Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape-Protected Area Management Office (SBPS-PAMO), municipal government of Glan, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Philippine National Police-Maritime Group, and the Philippine Coast Guard.

The F/B Mark Anthony-17, a Philippine cargo and fishing vessel owned by the Rodrigo Lorna Gere Fishing Industry Corporation (RLGFI), ran aground a massive reef area in Barangay Batulaki due to bad weather.

In a statement posted on Facebook, DENR-Soccsksargen Regional Executive Director Sabdullah Abubacar said the RLGFI already settled with the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) for the release of the ship, while the full penalty is yet to be determined by the technical working committee with the approval of the Board.

The company has voluntarily pleaded for indemnification amounting to P500,000.

“The company made an assurance to pay for any difference and guarantees to deliver back the vessel when required,” Abubacar, who is the co-current chairperson of the PAMB said.

The sum will be deposited to the Integrated Area Protected Fund account of SBPS for the rehabilitation of the area and for the management of the strict protection zones in the SBPS.

Sarangani Bay is known for its rich biodiversity, harboring a wide variety of ecosystems ranging from mangroves to sea grasses to the varying depths of its coral reefs.

It was declared a protected seascape by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 756, dated March 5, 1996, for the protection, conservation, and sustainable management of its coastal and marine resources. (Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz)