Oil spill threatens coral reefs, mangroves, seaweeds in Mindoro; may reach Palawan
MANILA, Philippines — The oil spill resulting from the sinking of the MT Princess Empress in the waters of Oriental Mindoro threatens hundreds of hectares of coral reefs, mangroves, and more, said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Friday.
According to the DENR, the oil spill has reached 25 kilometers in length, about 300 to 500 meters wide.
“Findings showed that within the 40-kilometer radius, approximately 591 hectares of coral reefs, 1,626 hectares of mangroves and 362 hectares of seagrass/seaweeds can be potentially affected,” said the DENR in a statement.
The DENR said that the municipality of Pola is observed to have been the most impacted by the oil spill.
“The potential for the oil to reach northern Palawan was also discussed,” said the DENR.
The predicted damage came from the agency’s impact map based on the boat’s last known location.
However, authorities have yet to determine where exactly the vessel is currently.
“The MT Princess Empress must be immediately located to project the future flow of oil and potentially impacted areas. The National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, an attached agency under the DENR, will deploy two ships (BRP Hydrographer Ventura and BRP Hydrographer Presbitero) for multibeam survey in order to locate the sunken vessel,” said the agency.
The oil tanker submerged in the waters of Oriental Mindoro on Wednesday. It carried with it 800,000 liters of fuel.