Climate and Environment

Oil spill removal in Oriental Mindoro finally complete — Coast Guard

James Relativo - Philstar.com
Oil spill removal in Oriental Mindoro finally complete � Coast Guard
This photo was released by the Philippine Coast Guard following the "completion" of oil removal/recovery operations in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro after the sinking of MT Princess Empress.
Released/Philippine Coast Guard

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard announced the completion of the oil removal and recovery operations in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro — months after the unfortunate sinking of the MT Princess Empress in February 2023.

Almost four months had passed since the oil tanker carrying 800,000 liters of fuel sank, affecting 200,224 residents and causing more than P5 billion in damages to agriculture, fisheries and livestock in CALABARZON, MIMAROPA and Western Visayas.

"During the inspection and briefing, the Malayan Towage and Salvage Corp. (MSTC) assured the PCG of completing the oil removal/recovery operations by showing all eight cargo oil tanks and the ship's operational tank with no trace of oil," said PCG in a statement on Saturday.

"Following the completion of DSV Fire Opal's operations, MTSC said two of their tugboats would continue to monitor and conduct containment operations for oil that may leak from the fuel pipes of MT Princess Empress."



PCG's Marine Environmental Protection Commander, CG Vice Admiral Robert Patrimonio, joined the PCG Incident Management Team led by CG Commodore Geronimo Tuvilla in presiding over the final inspection on Friday.

Based on the ROV live videos, all eight cargo oil tanks were now empty, and the only remaining observations were oil drips from the cargo piping line.

"The [Diving Support Vessel] Fire Opal was chartered by the MSTC and contracted by the Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Insurance Club, Shipowners Protection Mutual," the PCG added.
"It started its oil removal/recovery operations on 29 May 2023, with 20 days to accomplish its objective."

The government earlier instituted fishing bans due to the oil spill, a directive that would be later lifted in some towns last May.

Tourist destinations such as Puerto Galera have also been declared "unsafe for swimming" after the incident.

The Department of Health last March advised residents of the oil spill-affected areas to take precautions, such as wearing appropriate types of mask and getting water from safe sources to avoid health problems.

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