US experts arrive in Mindoro to help in oil spill response

A team of eight experts from the United States government has arrived in Pola, Oriental Mindoro to assist the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in their oil spill response operations.

The team was requested by the Philippine government after the tanker MT Princess Empress sank off the coast of Oriental Mindoro, causing an oil spill.

Five members of the US Coast Guard’s (USCG) National Strike Force will provide subject matter expertise and assess the affected areas to determine the most effective method and equipment to contain and clean up the oil spill.

The team also includes two members of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who will work with the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources to conduct rapid environmental assessments of affected areas and identify priority areas at risk of environmental damage.

The US Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving will evaluate the technical parameters required to support the possible deployment of a remotely operated vehicle.

The American experts received a briefing on March 20 in Manila from the PCG and the Japan Disaster Relief Expert Team about oil-spill mitigation actions taken so far.

The team will work closely with the PCG to develop safe and efficient methods to contain and recover the oil and minimize damage to the environment.

“Through our incident management professionals’ wealth of experience and strong expertise in oil spill response, we will assist the PCG in developing safe and efficient methods to contain and recover the oil and minimize damage to the environment,” said Commander Stacey Crecy, commanding officer of the USCG Pacific Strike Team. “The USCG remains deeply committed to our relationship with the PCG.”

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding the team’s deployment to the Philippines. Earlier this month, USAID partnered with the World Food Program to support the Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development in transporting 20,000 food packs for families affected by the oil spill.

The US experts are expected to stay in the Philippines for several weeks to provide technical support and expertise to the PCG’s oil spill response operations.

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