MANILA — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Saturday said the firm handling the sunken MT Princess Empress targets to finish siphoning the remaining oil in the tanker by June 19.
PCG Spokesperson Armand Balilo said a third party started siphoning operations this week and already cut the metals surrounding the tanks. The oil tanker had 8 tanks, he said.
“Ang plano, next week ay posibleng butasan na ang mga tanke at sipsipin na ang mga natitirang langis. May dalawang tanke na parang kumpleto pa ang langis at yun ang ine-aim na matanggal nang tuluyan para hindi na umagos,” Balilo told reporters during the sidelines of a media briefing in Quezon City.
“Wala pa yung talagang nahihigop, nabutasan, ang mayroon lang ay mga nasalong langis doon sa tank na tumagas. Dalawa pa ang pinagpapalagay, base sa assessment, ay intact pa,” he added.
“Hopefully we can beat the deadline by June 19, na matapos na ang oil spill.”
The operations are led by the salvage company rented by the sunken tanker’s owners, while the Coast Guard supervises the operations. Documents showed the oil tanker is owned by RDC Reield Marine Services, Inc.
Balilo described the third party’s operations as “very efficient.”
It has been over 3 months since the oil spill first spread, after MT Princess Empress went down in rough seas near Oriental Mindoro while carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil on Feb. 28.
As of April, Pola, Oriental Mindoro sustained around P130 million in damage from the oil spill that spread across the province's waters, according to an official.
Some 4,800 fisherfolk and their families have been affected by the oil spill, a number of whom experienced respiratory illnesses aside from losing their livelihood.