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Boom placed to contain oil spill in Oriental Mindoro

Boom placed to contain oil spill in Oriental Mindoro
Gaea Katreena Cabico - March 8, 2023

POLA, Oriental Mindoro — An oil spill boom has been placed around the possible location of MT Princess Empress on Wednesday, over a week after the tanker sank off the coast of Oriental Mindoro.

The Philippine Coast Guard reported on Wednesday the installation of the boom to help contain the oil leaked by the sunken tanker.

The vessel, which was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial oil, suffered engine failure and sank in rough sea.

According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the MT Princess Empress is thought to be lying at about 1,200 feet or 400 meters below sea level.

A remotely-operated vehicle will be deployed to determine the exact location of the vessel.

As authorities scramble to contain the spill, thousands of residents in Oriental Mindoro — including fishers, vendors and tourism workers — are struggling to get by. The government imposed bans on fishing and swimming.

The seafood section of the Pola Public Market looked nearly empty on Wednesday morning. Fish vendor Nympha Rivera said she used to earn up to P2,000 a day.

But after the oil spill, Rivera barely makes money even though she imports the fish she sells from Batangas. Only a few people buy seafood after authorities advised against consuming seafood caught in areas affected by the oil spill.

“We are now eating the fish we sell. But how we will pay for our expenses and how we will send our children to school are our problem,” Rivera told
Clean up

Wearing personal protective equipment and masks, Pola residents and PGC personnel on Tuesday collected debris covered in oil and used absorbent pads to wipe slick from rocks along the shore of Barangay Buhay na Tubig.

The Coast Guard reported that they were able to collect 92 sacks of oiled debris.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday said the government is hoping the containment and clean up of the oil spill will take less than four months.

“In the meantime, they (residents) are engaged in the cash-for-work program for the cleanup. After that, they can go back to fishing, to their jobs,” he said.


Editor's note: The trip to Oriental Mindoro was hosted by Protect VIP Network (represented by Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development). At no stage does the host organization have a say in the stories generated from the coverage, interviews conducted, publication date and story treatment. Content is produced solely by following editorial guidelines.