MANILA -- Satellite image obtained by the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) on Tuesday showed new traces of oil slick in Verde Island, an area known for its marine biodiversity.
"Kahapon March 27 ng umaga around 10 a.m. nakita natin dito yung Verde Island sa pagitan ng Mindoro at Batangas, mapapansin may mga oil slick tayong nakikita dito, medyo mahaba itong oil slick na ito," PhilSA's Roel dela Cruz said in a press briefing.
(Yesterday, around 10 a.m., we saw an oil slick here in Verde Island between Mindoro and Batangas, this oil slick is a bit long.)
Last week, PCG said the waters of Isla Verde and its vicinity no longer had traces of an oil spill from the sunken MT Princess Empress.
PhilSA says newest satellite image taken yesterday shows "relatively long oil slick" in Verde Island, days after PCG said the area "no longer" had oil spill traces. Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News
PhilSA said the latest satellite image of the Mindoro oil spill obtained from private firm Planet Labs still needed to be processed and analyzed.
Verde Island Passage is a busy sea lane. Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Loyzaga said previously that the area was "globally recognized" for its marine biodiversity.
The Philippines has sought assistance from several countries, including Japan, the United States and France, to help contain and clean up the slick.
Thousands of hectares of coral reefs, mangroves and seaweed could be affected, officials have said.
On Monday, PCG said it has collected some 9,000 liters of oily water mixture in Oriental Mindoro, where the leaking Princess Empress went down in rough seas a month ago while carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil.
The PCG said it also collected 3,514.5 sacks and 22 drums of waste from 13 affected barangays.
Tens of thousands of people have also been affected by the spill, with scores falling ill. The government is distributing food packs and other assistance.
Among the hardest hit are fishermen, who have been ordered to stay on shore until they can fish safely.
— With a report from Agence France-Presse