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Coast Guard seeks US assistance in locating oil spill source

March 11, 2023 People's Tonight 242 views

THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Saturday confirmed it sought the assistance of the United States to contain an oil spill in Oriental Mindoro that is fast spreading to other coastal communities.

The M/T Princess Empress carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil, sank off the coast of Naujan on Feb. 28.

PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu said the oil slick has already reached more municipalities, with the farthest recorded in Caluya Island, Antique.

On Friday, it was reported that the oil spill has reached Barangay Casian, Taytay, Palawan, which is approximately 159 nautical miles or 295 km. from the Naujan accident site.

“I have sent a letter to the Embassy of the United States through the Coast Guard na nangangailangan tayo ng tulong,” he said at the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.

“Generic naman iyon, kung anong maibabagay nila, like equipment, kung ano nasa kanilang kakayahan,” he added.

Abu said the tanker had sunk at least 389 meters beneath the water’s surface, but the country’s available equipment to contain oil leaking from the vessel itself has “limited depth coverage.”

“(We need a) remote(ly) operated vehicle (ROV). Ito ang pinakamahalaga. Ang first objective natin is to contain the oil from the source ,” he said.

He said the Philippines has a new ROV, but it could not go that deep.

The PCG could not yet determine the extent of recovery efforts needed until it has reached the wreckage, he said, adding that they would work closely with other agencies to remove the slick as soon as possible in line with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s instruction to finish the cleanup in four months.

“Magtutulung-tulong po tayo (We will help each other out). This is not just about the effort of the Coast Guard, but this is a whole-of-government approach,” he said. Philippine News Agency

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