PCG watching if sunken motor tanker will leak industrial fuel
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Wednesday the oil spill from a motor tanker that sank in the waters off Oriental Mindoro reached a total area of around six kilometers in length and four kilometers in width.
In a radio interview, PCG spokesman Rear Admiral Armando Balilo said the BRP Melchora Aquino is monitoring the situation so it can respond if industrial fuel will leak, causing an oil spill.
" (PCG Commandant) Admiral (Artemio) Abu issued an instruction to monitor and be ready to implement necessary oil spill response in case of the industrial fuel leak," he said.
Balilo said the oil spill was confirmed by Coast Guard personnel on BRP Melchora Aquino and the Airbus helicopter deployed to respond to the maritime incident involving motor tanker Princess Empress in the vicinity of waters off Balingawan Point, Naujan, Oriental Mindoro on Tuesday.
"Fortunately based on the observation of our pilot, what they have monitored is the spill off ordinary diesel, it may be the oil they use to run the ship and this does not yet pose any threat to our marine resources in the area," Balilo said.
"However, what we fear to happen here is the possible spill of industrial fuel," he added.
Balilo added that the PCG is trying to identify the exact location of the motor tanker to implement possible salvage operations to prevent the leak of industrial fuel or possible environmental catastrophe.
"Our plan was to tow the vessel to the nearest port to pull out the industrial fuel," he said.
The PCG noted that a foreign vessel, MV Efes, rescued 20 crew members of the motor tanker before it sank. Robina Asido/DMS