Vale faces Subic ban

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has placed restrictions on iron ore transshipment operations by Vale over complaints about pollution.

The move comes after residents in nearby Olongapo City complained of spillage and water discoloration in Subic Bay during heavy rains.

SBMA Chair Roberto Garcia said the agency had investigated the iron ore spillage from the feeder vessels of Brazil’s Vale Shipping.

He said the spillage was first reported on 25 July, prompting an inspection by the SBMA’s ecology center and seaport department.

“The iron ore left on the deck was washed aside by strong rains. This has caused discoloration in the water,” Garcia told local media.

“We have monitored the spill, which caused discoloration of the waters around the vessels, and by the third day, it has already dissipated.

“Iron ore is not a hazardous material and it does not react to the environment. That minimal spillage has no effect at all,” he said.

SBMA has ordered Vale to refrain from transferring iron ore during heavy rains as a precaution, Garcia said.

Vale has been using Subic Bay as a transshipment point for two years since its 400,000-dwt Valemaxes were banned from calling at Chinese ports.