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Contractor under fire for toxic waste dumping

Company says it is not subject to Philippine law

A Glenn Defense tanker is seen servicing a US naval ship in this file photo taken early this year (Anthony Bayarong) A Glenn Defense tanker is seen servicing a US naval ship in this file photo taken early this year (Anthony Bayarong)
  • Joe Torres and Anthony Bayarong, Subic Bay
  • Philippines
  • November 9, 2012
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A US military contractor accused of dumping toxic waste in Philippine waters is refusing to respond to authorities, saying that under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) the company is not covered by Philippine law.

Environmentalists are urging the government to file a criminal case against the company, Glenn Defense Marine, after the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) found toxic waste aboard the MT Glenn Gaurdian on October 15.

During a follow-up inspection the next day, the ship’s captain told SBMA and Coast Guard officials that the ship unloaded an estimated 189,000 liters of waste water and 200 liters of bilge water (water and oil) 25 nautical miles from Subic Bay.

The waste was from the USS Emory S. Land, a submarine tender which had docked at Subic Freeport.

Glenn Defense is a registered locator inside the Subic Bay Freeport and is involved in marine and offshore logistics. It services US military ships that dock at the former US naval base.

An SBMA source who asked not to be named said the shipping agency has been hauling bilge water and domestic waste water from US navy ships for years now.

The source said the certificate to operate for Glen Defense has no provision for waste water hauling.

"After requiring them to pay their liabilities, authorities should immediately expel Glenn Defense Marine Asia and its vessels and bar them from further operating in the Philippines," said Clemente Bautista of the Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).

Bautista said the incident "shows not only [the US government's] disregard for the integrity of our environment and the health of our people but is also an affront to our national sovereignty.

"It is high time that the government abrogate and junk the VFA," Bautista said.

The US embassy in Manila said it is aware of the allegations, but said it will only take appropriate action after an investigation.

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