MANILA - An additional vessel sent by the United States to aid in the ongoing clearing of the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro arrived in the Philippines Tuesday.
According to the Office of Civil Defense, the Pacific Valkyrie, an anchor handling vessel, arrived at Subic Bay, Zambales at 7:12 a.m.
The vessel will carry a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) "which will conduct a video and sonar survey of the sunken MT Princess Empress."
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Chairperson and National Defense Officer in Charge, Carlito Galvez Jr. thanked the US government for its help.
"Once all mandatory checks and preparations are completed, the Pacific Valkyrie, carrying an ROV team from the US, will head to Oriental Mindoro to check the current situation of the shipwreck and its fuel cargo. We will then use data gathered to determine the next appropriate course of action to control the oil leakage coming from its source," he said.
The US is also sending 11,000 feet of 26-inch absorbent harbor boom, which will be used to control the spread of oil.
Experts from the US Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and US Navy are also expected to arrive in the country, along with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other support equipment, vehicles and vessels.
"We welcome this assistance coming from our US counterparts. We are confident that this initiative would greatly help our assessment efforts, thereby enabling us to implement the most effective containment and clean-up strategy,” NDRRMC Executive Director and Civil Defense Administrator, Usec. Ariel Nepomuceno said.
Galvez earlier said the US Coast Guard will send a contingent to help in the clearing operations.
A total of P142.9 million worth of assistance has been provided by various government agencies and non-government organizations to residents of areas affected by the oil spill.
The MT Princess Empress sunk a month ago on February 28 at the waters off Naujan, Oriental Mindoro. It was loaded with 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil.
As of Sunday, a total of 10,206 liters of oil waste and oily water, and 72,643 kilos of oil contaminated debris were collected in the shoreline clean-up operations, Galvez said.