Troubled vessel in Botolan not engaged in dredging operations

AN official of the Z2K Resources which won contract for dredging and desilting of Bucao River in Botolan, Zambales on Sunday denied news reports that the company-owned vessel ZH 69 was engaged in dredging operations.

Fiedni P. Fontamillas, Z2K Resources Inc.‘s Chief Operating Officer, said that the marine incident near the mouth of the Bucao River involving their vessel ZH 69 was a result of its initial positioning as they prepare to embark on a large-scale dredging project.  

Fontamillas explained that the vessel ZH 69 was battered by strong winds and waves during the recent typhoon Butchoy while anchored off the coast of Bucao River.  “As a result, there was a breach in the wall of the ship that allows the water to enter the hull when it is constantly hit by strong waves,” he said.

Fontamijlas pointed out that ZH 69 was about 200 meters off the coast of Bucao River and was purposely moved closer to the shore in order to facilitate some afloat repairs in coordination with the Philippine Coast Guard.

“In order to prevent further damage and possible sinking while on the anchorage, emergency repairs were done in coordination with PCG personnel stationed in Masinloc, Zambales,” Fontamillas said.

As a result of the timely intervention and preventive action taken by the management and personnel of Z2K, Fontamijlas said no further damage was incurred and there was no presence of any oil spill as confirmed by the PCG. 

“The breach has already been sealed and ZH 69 will be moved to a shipyard for dry dock,” Fontamillas said.

Fontamillas expressed appreciation to the PCG- Masinloc Sub-station Chief Rizaldy Sardan for being on-hand to monitor, supervise, and assist on the activities conducted to help the troubled ZH 69 since it ran into trouble with Typhoon Butchoy.

Fontamillas said the vessel ZH 69 is not a dredger, as initially reported on-line by various news agencies.  “It is an aggregates carrier ship and does not have any capability to dredge or suction sand,” he said.

Z2K Resources Inc. was awarded by the Province of Zambales with the Notice to Proceed and Dredging Operations Permit last May 28, 2020 to conduct large scale dredging operation in the heavily silted Bucao River in Botolan Zambales. The project is aimed at restoring the natural state and water flow to prevent further flooding in the future.

Prior to the start of operations, Z2K conducted dialogues with concerned local officials of the Municipality of Botolan to ensure that the project will make a positive impact not only on the environment but also in the inclusive development of the community.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Department Administrative Order No. 13, series of 2019 issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on October 24, 2019, large-scale dredging in the river systems of Zambales was rationalized to improve the hydraulic capacities of the rivers to eliminate flooding in the province.