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3,457 claimants file for P114M damage from MT Princess oil spill

July 11, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 188 views

AN initial batch of 3,457 alleged victims have so far filed a combined P114 million in financial compensation claims for the economic losses they suffered due to the MT Princess Empress oil spill, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, a member of the House committee on ecology, has said.

“Those figures from the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds, or IOPC Funds, are very preliminary,” Pimentel explained.

“We understand that the IOPC Funds are now managing the civil liability claims with respect to the oil pollution damage caused by the incident,” Pimentel said.

“The Philippine Coast Guard and other government agencies involved are also expected to file their respective claims for costs incurred in cleanup operations and preventive measures as well as sea response,” Pimentel said.

Beach resorts, tour boat operators and other tourism service providers hit by the oil spill are also expected to file claims, according to the lawmaker.

The 508-ton MT Princess Empress sank in Tablas Strait on February 28, 2023 discharging about 5,600 barrels (900,000 liters) of highly toxic industrial fuel oil into the sea waters of Oriental Mindoro, Batangas, Antique and Palawan.

Fishing and swimming bans were imposed for an extended period in the areas hit hardest by the spill, thus adversely affecting communities dependent on seafood harvesting and tourism activities.

The London-based IOPC Funds pay compensation to those who have suffered pollution damage from spills of persistent oil from tankers in a member state, such as the Philippines.

Claimants may be individuals, partnerships, companies, private organizations or public bodies, including states or local authorities.

Compensable claims include property damage, costs of cleanup activities at sea and on shore, economic losses by fisherfolk and seafood vendors, or those engaged in mariculture, economic losses in the tourism sector and costs for reinstatement of the environment.

The IOPC Funds work with The Shipowners’ Club – a mutual insurance association based in Luxembourg – to settle claims.