Japan vessel arriving to assist in oil spill operation off Oriental Mindoro
By Robina Asido
A Japanese ship is expected to arrive in the country to assist in the oil spill operation in the waters off Oriental Mindoro, a Japanese Embassy official confirmed on Wednesday.
An official from the Japanese Embassy said Shin Nichi Maru, a multi-role vessel of a Japanese marine service company was hired by RDC Reield Marine Service, owner of the sunken tanker Princess Empress to determine its location.
The tanker sank on February 28 carrying 800,000 liters of industrial oil.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Situation Report dated March 12 said a total of 13 marine protected areas and 61 tourist attractions in Oriental Mindoro were affected; an estimate of eight kilometers of coastline in the municipality of Caluya in Antique province were affected.
"According to the information from PCG (Philippine Coast Guard), the Shin Nichi Maru loaded with an (remotely operated vehicle) ROV will depart Kagoshima (prefecture in Japan) on March 15 to investigate the status of the sunken ship," an official from the Japanese Embassy said.
It can be recalled that the Japan Coast Guard deployed its experts and equipment last week to help the PCG in containing the oil spill.
In a briefing with the PCG Incident Management Team in Oriental Mindoro on Monday, the Japan Disaster Relief (JDR) Expert Team which arrived in the country last week shared their observations on the shoreline clean-up operations at Barangay Buhay na Tubig in Pola.
"The Japanese experts said the joint clean-up operations have effectively minimized the oil spill's impact at the coastal barangay. They also reminded the stakeholders to observe the proper handling of collected waste," the PCG stated.
As of Tuesday, the PCG has collected 700 liters of oily water mixture and six sacks of oil-contaminated materials using M/Tug Lidagat and M/Tug Titan-1.
From March 1 to 14, the PCG collected a total of 5,603 liters of oily water mixture and 50 sacks of oil-contaminated materials during its offshore oil spill response.
For its shoreline response, the PCG recorded "140 sacks of oil-contaminated materials on March 14, resulting in 1,071 sacks and 22 drums of waste collected at 13 affected barangays in Naujan, Bulalacao, and Pola, Oriental Mindoro" from the same period.
According to the NDRRMC, the number of residents who experienced chest pain, headache, dizziness, difficulty of breathing, aggravation of asthma, cough, colds, eye irritation and other illnesses rose to 169 from 122 that were reported by the Department of Health Tuesday.
The NDRRMC said the number of affected population because of the oil spill now reached to 31,497 families or 143,713 people from a total of 122 barangays in Mimaropa and Western Visayas.
Estimated cost of damage to agriculture remained at P3,850,500.
As of March 14, a total of P23.9 million worth of assistance was provided by the Office of Civil Defense, DSWD, local government units, the Department of Health (DOH) and non-government organizations to the affected people in the province. DMS