The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the crew of the Shin Nichi Maru, a Japanese dynamic positioning vessel (DPV) have begun ramping up the ongoing oil spill response operations in Oriental Mindoro.
In a statement, the PCG said it will implement the "bagging" method using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) or underwater robot to seal off the leaks from the sunken MT Princess Empress.
Specialized bags to be used in the bagging technique to stop the oil leakage were sent to the country by the government of the United Kingdom to support the operations.
“Dumating na sa Oriental Mindoro ang mga specialized bags mula sa United Kingdom para gamitin sa 'bagging' o pansamantalang pagsasara ng leaking areas mula sa MT Princess Empress. Naisakay na ito sa barkong Shin Nichi Maru katuwang ang PCG personnel para maitest na. Ganundin, inaasahang may darating sa Lunes na 16 customized bags mula sa planta sa Cavite,” said Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor in a Facebook post on Saturday morning.
During a National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) meeting, the PCG presented its priorities for the next level of operations which include the hiring of marine salvor to do bagging, sealing, patching of all identified leaks, and hot tapping and siphoning of the fuel cargo of the shipwreck.
As of Saturday, 47 Coast Guard personnel were deployed to conduct shoreline assessment clean-up while seven were working on offshore response operations.
To support shoreline response operations, around 16 Coast Guard Marine Science technicians, 20 personnel from local government units, 58 personnel from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) personnel, and three volunteers from the Department of Health (DOH) were deployed.
In addition, about 167 hired workers and 12 representatives from Harbor Star Shipping Services Incorporated and 220 local volunteers also joined the shoreline response activities.