Cracks seen on MT Princess Empress: official


Posted at Mar 22 2023 09:59 AM

The sunken tanker that caused the Oriental Mindoro oil spill has been located. Photo from Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor
The sunken tanker that caused the Oriental Mindoro oil spill has been located. Photo from Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor

MANILA – A Japanese remotely operated vehicle (ROV) tasked to find a sunken tanker that caused a massive oil spill off Oriental Mindoro has found cracks on the ship’s surface, a local official said Wednesday. 

“Yung mga images na yun is may crack na and nagli-leak na yung oil doon yung barko ‘no, at hindi na pwedeng i-salvage, more or less,” said Pola. Oriental Mindoro Mayor Jennifer “Ina Alegre” Cruz.

(Images show that there is a crack on the ship and the oil is leaking from it. It cannot be saved anymore, more or less.)

Cruz noted, however, that trying to look inside the ship or possibly repairing it underwater will already require a different kind of contract.

“Yung kontrata nila ay makita lang yung ilalim ng barko. May problema again, maghihintay na naman tayo kung paano malalaman kung may laman pa ba yung tangke doon sa loob ng barko,” she said.

“Yun ang pagkaka-explain sa’kin nung president mismo nung nag-rent ng ROV. So ibig sabihin, ibang kontrata na yon.”

“Bakit hindi na na lang inisa? Yun ang tanong ko kahapon. Sabi niya, yun ang request sa kanila,” she added.

(Their contract is only to see the boat. So we have another problem: waiting to see how much more is in the ship's tank. That's how it was explained to me yesterday. I asked them why it wasn't included in the contract, they said that was the only thing asked of them.)

The official noted that the Philippine Coast Guard as well their locals continue to work hard to contain the oil spill. 

She also said she has spoken with Department of Agriculture officials for alternative sources of livelihood for oil spill-affected fisherfolk.

“Nakipag-usap tayo sa Department of Agriculture, para doon sa mga coconut hash na gagawin nila, at doon sa mga fisherfolks na iba na medyo malalayo talaga, yung sa banana.”

“Kasi may mga banana sa upland, baka pwedeng doon kami umangkat at para magawan na ng paraan na ma-process dito sa bayan ng Pola. Kasi yung ating mga banana rito dinadala pa namin sa Metro Manila--para dito na lang mapo-process at mabebenta na namin sa market,” she explained.

(We spoke with the Department of Agriculture on their program for making coconut hash. For fisherfolk who live far, we are looking at banana processing. We have bananas upland--maybe we can get those then process them here so we can sell them, instead of bringing them to Manila.)

The MT Princess Empress was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it went down in rough seas on Feb. 28.

Thousands of fishermen have been ordered to stay on shore until they can fish safely, and swimming is also banned. 

Dozens of people have fallen ill in Oriental Mindoro after oil washed up on their shores, the provincial government said. 

More than 2,500 hectares of coral reefs, mangroves, and seaweed could be affected by the spill, the environment department said previously.

--TeleRadyo, 22 March 2023

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