Hefty fines await owner of ill-fated MT Princess Empress — DENR
MANILA, Philippines–The owner of MT Princess Empress — the ill-fated tanker that sank off the waters of Naujan, Oriental Mindoro — may be fined P471,000 per day from March 1 until the oil spill is fully addressed, a representative of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said Thursday.
Environment Undersecretary Ignatius Rodriguez, who attended the inter-agency meeting to represent the DENR said this may go higher as it covers only eight of the 10 samples taken by the department and examined for contamination.
The amount was confirmed by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, who said that the figure mentioned is only a first computation of the DENR.
“We have to make adjustments on that. We still do not know [how much adjustments] because we don’t know how much damage it is really causing us. Administrative pa lang yan [that is still an administrative matter],” Remulla told reporters.
For now, Remulla said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is collecting all the documents before coming out with a conclusion as to the liabilities and who are liable.
Part of this information is still being investigated is whether the vessel is a scrap.
Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Administrator Hernani Fabia said that based on their documents, MT Princess Empress was not a “rebuilt scrap.”
“It is newly constructed. Hindi new ha? Newly constructed,” Fabia said.
Fabia explained that it already exists when you say it is new, while “newly constructed” means built from scratch.
“Based on our records, this is new construction. We will submit that to the National Bureau of Investigation,” he added.
Remulla said that is Marina’s explanation.
“We will look into it because there are claims otherwise. We will have to weigh the statements of the other witnesses. We have at least six witnesses who say otherwise,” he said.
He added that “we do not want to conclude anything until we look at the documents and the investigation pushes through.”