Vietnamese boat faces P5.5M fine for destroying Sarangani reef
A Vietnamese-flagged cargo vessel that ran aground at a portion of Sarangani Bay on Monday is facing a fine of P5.562 million after damaging a stretch of artificial reef domes.
Iskak Dipatuan, superintendent of the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape, said Friday the fine was set by the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) based on the extent of damage to artificial reefs by the grounding of M/V HTK Energy near the shores of Barangay Dadiangas South here.
Dipatuan said their assessment showed that some 200 artificial reef domes were damaged by the vessel after it drifted and ran aground in the area at about noon Monday.
The damaged area was estimated at 250 sq. meters, affecting concrete artificial reefs with encrusted corals, he said.
M/V HTK Energy was en route to a port here to load a copra shipment when the incident happened. It managed to leave the area after several hours but left substantial damage to the artificial reefs based on the underwater assessment conducted by divers of the city environment and natural resources office last Tuesday.
The damaged area, consisting of artificial reef domes installed a decade ago, was just about 20 meters from the main beach of the city’s Queen Tuna Park. The reef domes serve as a habitat to various fish species thriving in Sarangani Bay, which was declared a protected area through Presidential Proclamation 756 issued in March 1996.
Following the assessment, PAMB and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources held an emergency meeting to address the problem.
Dipatuan said PAMB also recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against the vessel’s mother company. (PNA)