No oil slick from Mindoro spill spotted in Coron yet — official

No oil slick from Mindoro spill spotted in Coron yet � official
Tourists take a dip in Kayangan Lake in Coron, Palawan in a 2018 file photo. Visitors need to hike up a mountain to reach the lake, a top tourist spot in Coron.
The STAR / Andy Zapata Jr.

MANILA, Philippines — The local government of Coron in Palawan has yet to detect traces of oil spilled by sunken tanker MT Princess Empress in the waters of the popular tourist destination.

The University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute on Monday said a satellite image from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed possible oil slicks about 12 kilometers off Coron. The detected slicks were about 19 kilometers long and three kilometers wide.

The marine scientists noted it is unknown if the slicks possibly drifted from the location of MT Princess Empress in Oriental Mindoro or from other sources.

In an interview with TeleRadyo on Wednesday, Coron’s disaster risk reduction and management office head Fernando Lopez said authorities have not monitored any traces of oil in the town’s waters.

“Based on our patrols on Monday and Tuesday and on the reports of barangay officials and fishers, no traces of oil slick have been spotted in Coron,” Lopez said.

Lopez, however, said that rough waves could have made it difficult to spot oil slicks. He added that the local government requested an aerial survey of the area for further validation.

According to the official, Coron authorities and residents are prepared once the spill reaches their town.

Coron is one of the country’s top tourist destinations. It is known for its limestone karst landscapes, and beautiful beaches and lakes.

Tanker MT Princess Empress, which was loaded with 800,000 liters of oil, is still leaking over a month after it sank off Oriental Mindoro.

The spill is affecting thousands of fisherfolk and tourism workers, and is threatening rich marine life. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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