grande policecontraste

 Princess of the Stars

SpillsPrincess of the Stars

The accident

On 21 June 2008, the Princess of the Stars ferry sank with 850 people onboard following Typhoon Fengshen off the coast of Sibuyan Island. Many people lost their lives and numerous bodies remained trapped in the wreck.

On 28th, operations to recover the bodies were suspended due to the presence of containers of pesticides onboard liable to release these chemicals. It was considered necessary to remove these substances before continuing to recover the corpses or attempting to refloat the wreck.

A 5 km exclusion zone around the wreck, where fishing and aquaculture activities were prohibited, was set up by the Philippine authorities.

An expert from Cedre was dispatched to the Philippines on 9 July, in charge of a European Commission assignment (MIC: Monitoring and Information Centre for civil protection) in order to assess the human and environmental risks connected to the presence of these chemicals and the bunker fuel present in the wreck.

Barrage autour de l'épave du Princess of the stars. Source Cedre/SLF.
A boom around the wreck of the Princess of the Stars
(Source: Cedre/SLF)

Chemicals involved

Five highly toxic pesticides were being transported in 2 containers onboard the ferry. A 40-foot container held 10 tonnes of Endosulfan and a 10-foot container stored 4 other pesticides in smaller quantities. Endosulfan is used in pineapple production in the Philippines. This particular cargo came from Israel.

Echantillons prélevés autour de l'épave. Source Cedre/SLF.
Samples taken from around the wreck
(Source: Cedre/SLF)

Pollution monitoring

On site, the experts carried out aerial reconnaissance, as well as surveys by boat and on foot along the shoreline in order to assess the situation and make recommendations on analysis protocols, boom deployment and response at sea in case of a spill.

On 11 July, following the observation of a fuel slick, the Coast Guards deployed a boom around the wreck.

Seawater samples were taken from 5 sample points around the wreck every day, then analysed by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). Fish, sediment and plankton were also sampled by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Following the expert mission, a debriefing was held on the MIC premises in Brussels on 26 September 2008. The representatives of Member States were invited to this meeting.

Départ pour un survol aérien. Source Cedre/SLF.
Before take-off for an aerial overflight (Source: Cedre/SLF)

Name: Princess of the Stars

Date: 21 June 2008

Location: Philippines

Accident area: Sibuyan Island

Cause of spill: weather conditions

Products transported: pesticides (Endosulfan, Antracol WP 70, Tamaron 600 SL, Trap 70 WP, Fuerza GR 3), paint, solvents, electrical equipment, 100,000 l of Marine Diesel Oil

Type of pollutant: heavy fuel oil

Ship type: passenger ship

Date built: 1986

Length: 193 m

Flag: Cypriot

Wreck localisation (® Encarta 2007)

See also


Last update: 31/07/2008

Emergency hotline: +332 98 33 10 10 - 24h/24