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Tugboat sinks in Naga town in Cebu, causing an oil spill

Tugboat sinks in Naga town in Cebu, causing an oil spill
John Eric Mendoza - September 04, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — An oil spill occurred after a tugboat sank off the waters of Naga Anchorage in Cebu’s Naga town over the weekend, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported on Monday.

According to PCG, the tugboat MTug Sugbo 2 hull was damaged, particularly its steering portion inside the engine room, causing flooding in the boat, and it eventually became fully submerged.

“According to the master, he noticed the steering room was flooded due to an approximately four-inch diameter hole at the vessel’s starboard quarter,” PCG said in a statement.

“He instructed his crew to provide a submersible pump to remove the seawater inside the steering room, but the tugboat lost its power/electricity,” it added.

The master of MTug Sugbo 2 contacted its sister ship, MTug Sugbo 7.

The other boat arrived, and its crew tried to help.

But this effort did not save MTug Sugbo 2 because “the rate of water going in was much greater than the water they were able to pump out,” said PCG, quoting the tugboat’s master.

“He contacted its sister ship MTug Sugbo 7 to connect its power source to the submersible pump, but he terminated the pumping operation due to the increase in the volume of water in the steering room,” said PCG.

The master then instructed all personnel on board to abandon MTug Sugbo 2 before it capsized.

Afterward, the PCG team moved to contain the oil spill that resulted in the incident.

PCG’s report said it used “three segments of oil spill boom, two bales of absorbent pads, and four segments of absorbent boom to control the oil spill.”

The total impact of the spillage has yet to be determined at this time.

Oil spills off Naga had happened before.

In 2013, an oil spill reached the town’s shores following the sinking of vessel MV St. Thomas Aquinas.

Meanwhile, a large-scale oil spill also happened this year.

Around 900,000 liters of industrial fuel oil leaked into the sea following the sinking of MT Princess Empress in Oriental Mindoro last February 28.