Chinese-manned dredging vessel leaves Lobo

BATANGAS, Philippines – The foreign vessel manned by Chinese crewmen anchored near the town of Lobo has left its waters after the Philippine Ports Authority canceled its anchorage permit exactly a week after it was first spotted by residents. 

According to Lobo Mayor Jurly Manalo, the M/V Emerald left past 7 am on Friday, April 5, and sailed off to the Batangas pier where it will be docked for a few days.

Manalo earlier asked the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to order the ship’s departure because they were never issued a local permit and therefore they have no reason to stay.

He added the group presented a 2008 agreement with the local government but only secured an environmental compliance certificate last year.

The Deparment of Environment and Natural Resources confirmed Wednesday that three ECCs were issued last July 6, 2018 to Seagate Engineering and Buildsystems for desilting, dredging and remediation of Lobo River Estuary Foreshore, Lobo River Basin Periphery and in Brarangays Olo-olo, Poblacion, Tayuman, Mabilog na Bundok, and Nagtaluntong.

“The ECC was from an online application and had the condition that all other permits needed were to be submitted within 60 days. However, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau never issued an ore transport permit nor an export permit for the soil therefore it would be illegal to take the dredged material out of the country, said said DENR-CALABARZON Regional Executive Director Maria Paz Luna. 

Last Thursday, MGB issued a Cease and Desist Order against Seagate Engineering and Buildsystems to ensure that no dredging or siphoning activities would be conducted without necessary permits.

The town’s local chief executive earlier expressed fears over possible environmental damage.

The Lobo river drains to Verde Island Passage. It has been declared the “Center of the center of marine shorefish biodiversity in the world” by Dr. Kent Carpenter, an IUCN Global Marine Species Assessment Coordinator. 

The PCG is set to deploy personnel to Lobo on Saturday, April 6, to check if the vessel caused any damage to natural resources. – Rappler.com