The extraction of the remaining oil from the sunken MT Princess Empress in Oriental Mindoro has been completed, two days ahead of the target schedule date of June 19, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported on Saturday.
“So, yesterday we were shown the footage together with OCD (Office of Civil Defense), DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), LGU (local government unit), BFAR (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources), and Department of Science and Technology. Pinakita ho sa amin na wala ng laman iyong mga tangke, so parang (declared) nila lang completed na po iyong oil spill recovery doon sa Mindoro,” PCG spokesman Rear Admiral Armand Balilo said in a news forum in Quezon City.
“Ang sinasabi ko lang ho, base doon sa kanilang assessment at sa kanilang recovery procedure wala na pong oil doon… tankeng inaakala na mayroon pang tatagas. Maliban na lang po doon sa mga pipes na may mga… na pakonti-konti at sabi po ng salvage operator, ay unstoppable na po,” he added.
Siphoning operations began on May 29 with the help of a Dynamic Support Vessel (DSV) Fire Opal chartered by Malayan Towage and Salvage Corp. (MTSC).
The MT Princess Empress, reported to contain around 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil, ran aground in the waters off Naujan, Oriental Mindoro in February due to engine trouble and eventually sank the following day.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. earlier expressed his hope that the cleanup will be done in less than four months.
Balilo said there are still two salvage vessels in the area.
“Mag-iiwan po dalawang salvage vessel iyong Malayan… para po mag-monitor kung sakaling mayroon pang mga oil na tatagas ay patuloy pa pong ire-recover,” the PCG official explained.
“Pero hindi pa naman po tapos iyong talagang oil spill containment operation at marami pa pong gagawin at kukonsultahin pa po iyong mga stakeholders katulad nga po noong OCD, ng DENR at saka po ng Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources at saka iyong local government unit ng Mindoro,” he said. (PND)