Spill cleanup nets over 9,000 liters of oil sludge in Oriental Mindoro
CITY OF CALAPAN—At least 9,463 liters of oily water mixture and 115 sacks of oil-contaminated materials were collected by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) during its offshore cleanup in the province of Oriental Mindoro this month.
In a report on Monday, the PCG said it also managed to collect 137 more sacks of oil-contaminated materials on March 26, resulting in a total of 3,514.5 sacks and 22 drums of waste collected from 13 affected villages in the towns of Naujan, Bulalacao and Pola from March 1 to March 26.These areas continued to reel from the spread of industrial fuel that leaked from the sunken MT Princess Empress that was found in the waters off Pola.
Authorities, however, were yet to determine how much of the 800,000 liters of industrial-grade oil that the tanker was carrying had ended up in the sea when MT Princess Empress sank in the waters off Naujan town on Feb. 28.
Oriental Mindoro has been placed under a state of calamity after coastal waters in 10 towns were drenched in oil slick, displacing over 34,000 families composed mostly of fisherfolk who were barred from fishing.
The slick has since spread to the waters of the capital city of Calapan, Caluya Island in Antique, the waters of Agutaya and Taytay towns in Palawan province, the sea off Verde Island in Batangas City and Tingloy town in Batangas province although authorities said the impact in these areas were not as bad as those in Naujan, Pola and their adjoining towns.
Technical experts from the Korean Coast Guard will meet with the PCG on Tuesday to lend their expertise on oil spill response operations, the PCG said.
The South Korean government will also be providing 20 tons of sorbent pads and snare; 1,000 meters of solid flotation curtain boom; and 2,000 sets of personal protective equipment.
“This is the first time Korea has provided assistance for the prevention of marine pollution, and Korea highly values the importance of restoring areas affected by environmental disasters and accidents,” the Korean Embassy in Manila said.
At present, the PCG has been getting help from local communities that provide them with improvised oil spill booms, using abaca coir and such items as plastic bottles.
More assistance from the US Coast Guard was also expected to arrive in the coming days, acting Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.
“We are looking forward to the arrival of the entire US Coast Guard contingent for the additional technical support in our disaster response operations. Although, one US C-17 with equipment (60K loader) already arrived this morning and is now at Subic Air Base. Another C-5 is expected to arrive tomorrow,” Galvez said in a report to President Marcos on Sunday.
“We will immediately employ these assets and integrate in our response operations. In addition, we continue to closely monitor the ROV’s (remotely operated vehicle) operations for significant updates and to further determine the extent of the oil spill,” he said. INQ
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