The PCG confirmed that Verde Island and its vicinity waters no longer have traces of the oil spill. Philippine Coast Guard/Facebook
MANILA -- The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has confirmed Monday afternoon that the waters of Isla Verde and its vicinity has no longer traces of an oil spill.
This, after a Coast Guard official said the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro has reached the shores of Isla Verde near Batangas City early Monday.
The PCG said in its official Facebook account that it confirmed the news after it conducted an aerial inspection from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
"To clarify this concern, PCG Station Batangas reported that they monitored traces of oil spill in three coastal barangays near Verde Island — San Antonio, San Agustin, and San Agapito," the PCG said in a statement.
"They collected approximately 230 liters of oil during the shoreline clean-up operations today," PCG said in a statement.
MT Princess Empress was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it went down in rough seas off Oriental Mindoro on February 28.
The University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute on Sunday said the latest satellite image on March 15 shows that the oil is still leaking out of the sunken vessel.
It warned oil spill trajectories show a northward shift with Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro "possibly receiving most of the oil from March 20-22"
"Westward currents along the coast of northern Mindoro towards the Verde Island Passage are forecasted to be more pronounced for this period. The Amihan winds, which contained most of the oil to the coasts of Nauhan and Pola in the previous weeks, are now more variable, allowing the oil to spread northwards," UP-MSI's latest advisory read.
It added that it is critical to stop the seepage before the end of the Amihan season, "otherwise more critical biodiversity areas along the Verde Island Passage may be affected."
Atty. Reymond Al Ussam, Calapan City administrator, said oil spill traces have reached at least 2 barangays in the city since Thursday last week.
Improvised oil spill booms provided by the Philippine Coast Guard are now being used to control the seepage, he said. "Maliit lang ang volume na dumating...Wala naman traces ngayong umaga," Ussam said.
Authorities have not advised a fishing ban considering the low volume of seepage, he said.
A fishermen's group earlier said RDC Reield Marine Services, the company that owns MT Princess Empress, should pay for the ecological damage caused by the oil spill.