Owner of sunken tanker installs specialized oil bags to help contain oil spill in Mindoro
MANILA, Philippines — The owners of the sunken MT Princess Empress, which caused the massive oil spill in Oriental Mindoro, have installed specialized oil bags on the tanker to help prevent the further leakage of oil.
The oil bags were installed using a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV), as the bags needed to be sealed over the boat’s leakage areas.
“RDC Reield Marine Services, owners of the sunken tanker Princess Empress, report that specialized oil leak capping bags have successfully been installed on areas of the wreck by an ROV operated by the Japanese salvage vessel Shin Nichi Maru. The specialized bags from the United Kingdom and copied locally are designed to catch and contain oil escaping from areas on the vessel identified as leaking through previous ROV surveys,” said the owners in a statement on Wednesday.
The ROV tied the bag over the leaking points and sealed and eight bags were installed successfully on Tuesday.
“After each installation, further dive surveys are undertaken to identify other leak points for future reference. Some other identified leaks were inaccessible for bagging due to obstructions such as cargo nets, hoses, and ropes,” said the RDC.
However, according to Oriental Mindoro Gov. Humerlito Dolor’s previous statement, 23 leakage areas were identified on the ship.
Some of these are no longer accessible to bagging due to obstructions like ropes, nets, and hoses.
“Salvage experts are now exploring viable options to remove any remaining oil from the wreck,” said the ship owners.
The RDC Reield Marine Services said it remains committed to cooperating with authorities “to minimize any further impact on the local environment and to clean up those areas already affected by the spill.”
The MT Princess Empress sank off the waters of Oriental Mindoro on February 28, causing a fishing ban in the affected area and jeopardizing the livelihood of thousands of fisherfolks.—With reports from MJ Soriano, INQUIRER.net trainee