PCG, Marina accountable for oil spill, say senators | Inquirer News

PCG, Marina accountable for oil spill, say senators

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:48 AM March 18, 2023

Together with an oil spill boom and skimmer, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) goes around the suspected area of the sunken oil tanker MT Princess Empress at the northeast of Balingawan Port, Lucta Port, and Buloc Bay in Oriental Mindoro on March 14, 2023.  PHOTO: Malayan Towage and Salvage Corporation via Philippine Coast Guard

Senators on Friday said officials of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) should be held liable, along with the owners of the sunken MT Princess Empress for the oil spill that wreaked havoc on the fishing villages and the marine ecosystem in Oriental Mindoro.

Senator Francis Escudero suspected that officials of the two state agencies may have been bribed by RDC Reield Marine Services Inc. to let the ill-fated ship set sail without the required certificate of public convenience from Marina.


“We have to dig deeper, especially on the side of Marina insofar as their accreditation procedure and personnel are concerned,” Escudero told reporters.

“On the part of [PCG] they were clearly ‘motivated’ to look the other way instead of looking out for the welfare of the people, our seas and [the] environment,” he said, adding:


“I will not be surprised if the investigation reveals that money changed hands somewhere, somehow.”

He, however, rejected the suggestion to immediately stop all the vessels of RDC from operating, noting that there was “no sufficient evidence on record yet of bad faith.”

The senator issued the statement after Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla claimed that MT Princess Empress was a “rebuilt scrap” that was not intended to transport oil “from the very beginning.”

Senator Risa Hontiveros said the information disclosed by Remulla proved that officials of PCG and Marina committed “undeniable negligence and nonfeasance” that resulted in the oil spill.

READ: Hontiveros wants PCG, Marina execs held liable for Mindoro oil spill

Hontiveros said PCG should not have allowed the motor tanker to leave the port of Bataan a day before it sank off Pola, Oriental Mindoro, on February 28.

“[They] should face the full brunt of the law. They should answer not only for this incident, but also for the alleged eight other times that the scrap ship [was] allowed to sail,” she said.


READ: PCG: Oil tanker off Oriental Mindoro now fully submerged, oil spill worsens 

On the other hand, she said Marina officials should also be held responsible for letting the ship continue to operate despite its supposed failure to meet the requirements for seaworthiness.

Hontiveros said investigators should have checked if RDC’s permit from Marina covered MT Princess Empress.

READ: Submerged oil tanker in Oriental Mindoro lacked permit to operate — report

“I trust that the Senate committee on environment, natural resources and climate change will be able to ensure that the officials responsible for this environmental nightmare will be held to account for their actions,” Hontiveros said.

Sen. Francis Tolentino, who pushed for the Senate investigation of the incident, said the ship’s compliance with safety standards should have been met before it was allowed to leave the port.

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TAGS: Marina, Mindoro, oil spill, PCG
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