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Solar 1 oil retrieval scheduled for March 14

Manila: Eight months after it sank, the remaining oil onboard the MT Solar 1 is finally scheduled to be removed in a 25-day operation penciled in for March 14. The ship caused the Philippines' worst ever oil spill when she went down off Guimaras island in the centre of the archipelago last summer. Italian firm Sonsub will deploy its vessel, Allied Shield, for a delicate oil removal operation which is likely to cost US$6m.

Authorities are warning no vessels will be allowed within a one kilometer radius from the site from March 14. The sunken ship lies 2,100 m below sea level, 9km south of Guimaras and has some 1,000 tons of oil onboard.

Sonsub has a track record in this highly skilled type of work. It retrieved 13,500 tons of crude oil without spillage from the tanker Prestige which sank in 10,000 feet of water 240 kilometers from the coast of Spain.

Sonsub will be using the latest technologies, including the 80 m long dynamic positioning vessel Allied Shield and two Remotely Operated Vehicles that will be deployed to work on the sunken vessel.

The ROVs will drill two holes in each of the 10 sunken tanks containing oil on board the MT Solar 1. Water will be allowed to flow into one hole to displace any remaining oil which would flow from the second hole and a shuttle container will be used to capture the oil to be transferred on to the Allied Shield.  [26/02/07]

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