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Chinese freighter detained in Philippines

Chinese general cargo Gold Eagle arrested by Philippinese authorities in Barangay Baloganon mining port,  for illegally loading chromite ore.

Chinese freighter detained in Philippines
09 January 2011 - 13:35

Chinese freighter detained in Philippines for attempt to load ore from controversial mine

Chinese general cargo Gold Eagle arrested by Philippinese authorities in Barangay Baloganon mining port, vessel docked without proper permission for loading chromite ore from a mine involved in legal dispute. In July 2010, police officers, Army soldiers and the Zambales Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) took custody of the chromite mine operated by Compania Minera Tubajon Inc. (CMTI, which was formerly Coto Mines Inc.), following reports of large-scale chromite theft at Sitio Coto in Barangay Taltal, Masinloc.

The raiding team also detained 80 Chinese workers. The Chinese Embassy claimed the mine was being overseen by Geoking Asia Mining Corp. CMTI has been involved in a legal dispute with another company over the Coto Mine operations.

The Coto mine has not been active since the raid, but a court ruling issued by Zambales Executive Judge Josefina Farrales on January 4 restrained government from intervening, when it allowed Ye Zhou, Geoking president, to retrieve 7,000 metric tons of chromite ore from the mine site. But Estioco cited in his seize order a January 6 ruling issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Adoracion Bocar, which overturned Farrales' ruling.

Authorities believe the Panamanian vessel was shipping out the Geoking ore.

Manuel Estioco, district officer of the Philippine Port Authority, said MV Gold Eagle docked at the mining port in Barangay Baloganon without permits, when inspectors detected its cargo of ore, which might be traced to a controversial mine here.

In July 2010, police officers, Army soldiers and the Zambales Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) took custody of the chromite mine operated by Compania Minera Tubajon Inc. (CMTI, which was formerly Coto Mines Inc.), following reports of large-scale chromite theft at Sitio Coto in Barangay Taltal, Masinloc.

The raiding team also detained 80 Chinese workers. The Chinese Embassy claimed the mine was being overseen by Geoking Asia Mining Corp. CMTI has been involved in a legal dispute with another company over the Coto Mine operations.

The Coto mine has not been active since the raid, but a court ruling issued by Zambales Executive Judge Josefina Farrales on January 4 restrained government from intervening, when it allowed Ye Zhou, Geoking president, to retrieve 7,000 metric tons of chromite ore from the mine site. But Estioco cited in his seize order a January 6 ruling issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Adoracion Bocar, which overturned Farrales' ruling.

Authorities believe the Panamanian vessel was shipping out the Geoking ore.

Bocar's decision cites the revocation by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Mineral Ore Export Permit (MOEP) and Ore Transport Permit (OTP) that was granted to Ye Zhou.

Estioco said Zambales courts have scheduled a February hearing to address the seizure of MV Gold Eagle.

Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. could not be reached at press time. Ebdane had directed a stop to all Zambales mine operations in July due to the controversies.

Gold Eagle IMO 9168398, dwt 6914, built 1997, flag Panama, owner Jin Ying Shipping Hong Kong.Gold Eagle IMO 9168398, dwt 6914, built 1997, flag Panama, owner Jin Ying Shipping Hong Kong.

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