MANILA — The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) on Tuesday said it might release this month the findings of a committee that looked into the construction of the sunken MT Princess Empress, which leaked thick oil into waters off Oriental Mindoro.
The fact-finding committee is validating reports that the tanker was a repurposed scrap ship, the Marina earlier said.
The panel went to Sorsogon, Bicol, Metro Manila, and Batangas to "visit the shipyards that supposedly constructed" the ship, said Marina Administrator Hernani Fabia.
"Maybe middle of this month or late this month, we will have the result of the fact-finding team," Fabia told Palace reporters.
"I would suggest we have to wait," he added, when asked if currently available information could help the fact-finding panel.
"There are so many information not verified. I do not want to add to more misinformation," the official said.
Fabia earlier said that based on their records, the ship was a "new construction."
But citing witness statements, Justice Secretary Boying Remulla had said the ship was rebuilt from scrap. Sen. Risa Hontiveros also alleged that the tanker was 50 years old and had not bee refurbished according to standards.
The results of the Marina investigation will be submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Marina earlier issued two cease and desist orders against the remaining vessels of the company that owns MT Princess Empress.
The agency is inspecting the company's remaining vessels to check their compliance with regulations, Marina Enforcement Service (ES) Director Ronald Bandalaria said last week.
On April 4, maritime authorities found probable cause to file administrative charges against the owner of the ship, which was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it went down in rough seas in late February.