Marina says sunken tanker had no permit to operate
The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) said Tuesday that the sunken motor tanker which caused the oil spill in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro was not given a permit to operate.
During a hearing of the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Climate Change, Senator Cynthia Villar read Marina’s accident report on the Princess Empress owned by RDC Reield Marine Services, which says the vessel did not have a permit to operate in the form of an amendment to its certificate of public convenience (CPC).
Marina Administrator Hernani Fabia said RDC Reield Marine Services did not have complete documents for its application to amend the CPC of the Princess Empress.
“RDC has a pending application which we were supposed to hear but they lacked documents. We were supposed to have a hearing on that,” Fabia said.
“So that means, sir, if they do not have the amended CPC…the Princess Empress should have been allowed to sail, right?” Senator Risa Hontiveros asked. ''It should not have been allowed,'' replied Fabia.
But the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) sent a copy of the amended CPC of RDC Reield Marine Services on November 16, 2022 to news organizations late Tuesday.
Senate Raffy Tulfo then questioned the PCG, saying that if they had inspected Princess Empress carefully, the oil spill could have been prevented.
“Doesn’t a member of the Coast Guard board a ship before it departs to inspect the documents and the load? If you did that, then you will know that they do not have a permit to operate. We could’ve avoided the oil spill then,” Tulfo said.
“So those who checked that must be charged and sued for negligence,” he added.
PCG Vice Admiral Rolando Punzalan admitted to Hontiveros there were shortcomings in inspecting the Princess Empress.
''This is (what we) really want to forward to national headquarters to conduct administrative investigations pertaining to lapses of our personnel if such is the case,'' he said.
PCG Vice Admiral Joseph Coyme said the certificate of public convenience was left unchecked on Princess Empress’ pre-departure inspection checklist.
Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor said that through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), they have handed out the first batch of 20,000 food packs to families impacted by the oil spill.
A total of 102,000 individuals or 20,465 families were affected by the oil spill in the province, he added.
Citing the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council Situation Report dated March 12, Villar said the oil spill in Mindoro Oriental affected 21,691 families in 117 barangays of Mimaropa; 7,616 families in four barangays of Western Visayas; a total of 13 marine protected areas and 61 tourist attractions; and an estimate of 8 kilometers of coastline in Caluya, Antique. DMS/Jaspearl Tan