Oil leak continues 22 days after tanker submerged off Oriental Mindoro
MANILA, Philippines — Underwater analysis has shown that fuel tanker MT Princess Empress is still leaking 22 days after it went under off Naujan town in Oriental Mindoro, authorities said Wednesday.
Oriental Mindoro Gov. Humerlito Dolor said in an online press briefing that the vessel acquired some damage while deep in the sea due to water pressure.
“The oil cargo tanks are still leaking oil,” said Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commodore Geronimo Tuvilla.
“So sa buong barko, may 23 leaking areas, Kaya lang, doon sa nagleleak na yan, wala na na nanggagaling sa krudo na kinokonsumo sa pagbiyahe, wala na. So ang ibig sabihin, ang assumption, it’s safe to say, yung laman, yung mga unang lumabas, ito yung laman ng tanke na ginagamit for the transportation,” Dolor added.
(For the whole ship, there are 23 leaking areas. However, among those leaking, none of it is coming from the crude that the vessel used to travel, it is gone. So that means, the assumption is, it’s safe to say, the content, what is going out, this was the content of the tank that was used for transportation.)
A Japanese remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) was used to locate and survey the sunken vessel, which caused a massive oil spill in Oriental Mindoro waters after it submerged on February 28.
READ: Sunken oil tanker found off Pola with ROV help
According to Dolor, the vessel’s eight tankers are still spilling oil and that they have identified three options to deal with it.
One of the options being explored by officials is to use the ROV to “bag” the oil escaping from the vessel. The bag is made from special materials that will capture only the oil and let the water escape, according to Dolor.
He said this option is doable, however, it is uncertain how many such bags are available in the Philippines.
The second option, Dolor noted, can be carried out simultaneously the first option – which is to cover the leaking areas with metal patches.
But, the governor also said, the second option will entail “longer and harder work.”
The third option is “hot topping and pumping,” PCG chief Tuvilla said. He explained that under this option, a hardware will be plugged into the sunken vessel in order to extract the oil.
To date, the oil spill has reached Palawan and Verde Island Passage and has plunged several localities into a state of calamity.
Traces of oil spill almost gone in Verde Island – PCG
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