An executive of Z2K Resources Inc. denied reports the company-owned vessel ZH 69 was engaged in dredging operations in Bucao River in Botolan, Zambales.
Fiedni Fontamillas, chief operating officer of Z2K Resources, said the marine incident near the mouth of Bucao River involving ZH 69 was a result of its initial positioning as it was preparing to embark on a large-scale dredging project.
He said the vessel was not a dredger, as initially reported online by several news agencies. “It is an aggregates carrier ship and does not have any capability to dredge or suction sand,” he said.
Fontamillas said the vessel was battered by strong winds and waves during the 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.
He said ZH 69 was about 200 meters off the coast of Bucao River and was purposely moved closer to the shore 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.
He said that as a result of the timely intervention and preventive action taken by the management and personnel of Z2K, 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 PCG Masinloc sub-station chief Rizaldy Sardan for being on-hand to monitor, supervise and assist on the activities conducted to help the troubled vessel.
Z2K Resources Inc. was awarded by the provincial government of Zambales with the notice to proceed and dredging operations permit on 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 flooding in the future. Prior to the start of operations, Z2K conducted dialogs 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 Department Administrative Order No. 13, series of 2019 issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Oct. 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.