Oil slick on Verde Island contained
A sampling to determine if the waters around Verde Island in Batangas City remained contaminated with industrial fuel oil yielded a negative result, the government of Batangas City said Friday.
In an advisory, the city’s public information office said the waters around the island were already deemed safe from the ill effects of the oil slick that came from the tanker MT Princess Empress that sunk off Oriental Mindoro on February 28. It said the test, which was made on March 20, also yielded a negative result for oil contamination along the coastline of other areas in Batangas.
The island is a favorite tourist haven for its pristine, clear water and underwater treasures. It is a six-village islet that sits at the heart of the Verde Island Passage (VIP), which is known as the world’s center of marine biodiversity.
VIP, a body of water between Batangas and Mindoro Island, is some 100 kilometers from Pola town in Oriental Mindoro province, where the tanker was last located after it sank on Feb. 28 while carrying 800,000 liters of industrial oil.
According to the Batangas city government, residents could continue fishing and do leisure activities, such as swimming, in the coastal areas.
It was also on March 20, when oil sheen and thin patches of segmented oil reached the Verde Island’s villages of San Agapito, San Agustin-Kanluran, Liponpon and San Andres.
At that time, the city government assured the residents in these coastal communities that the oil slick had a “minimal impact.”
Batangas City Mayor Beverley Dimacuha also immediately directed concerned local government offices to monitor the oil spill, ordering water testing in the seas off Verde Island.
The local government said the “prompt response” and the eventual cleanup operations of the Philippine Coast Guard, various local government agencies and other volunteers helped contain the spread of oily mixtures along the shorelines of the four villages.