24 sources of oil leaks from sunken MT Princess Empress sealed–PCG

The 24 sources of leakage in the sunken MT Princess Empress have been successfully capped, the Philippine Coast Guard has announced.

The PCG said the joint Japanese and US marine salvage groups have wrapped up their survey and mitigation works after two weeks of operation.

The MT Princess Empress was found on March 20 after Japan’s Fukada Salvage and Marine Works deployed a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), the ROV Hakuyo. The ill-fated tanker was located 7.7 nautical miles from Balingawan Point off Naujan town.

The following day, the ROV Hakuyo conducted an underwater survey on the structural damages of the sunken tanker.

The US Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving, which commissioned a dynamic positioning vessel (DPV), also conducted an underwater survey, cut off obstructive railings, and attached magnetic number markings on the tanks.

“This allowed DPV Shin Nichi Maru to easily install specialized bags to cap the oil-leaking sections in the tanker temporarily,” the PCG said.

One of the sources of oil leak is being fixed by the salvage team. (Photo: PCG)

Both the US and Japanese salvage teams had left the province after completing their work early this month, the PCG said.

Meanwhile, the Unified Incident Command Post in Oriental Mindoro is in contact with Protection & Indemnity (P&I) Club, the insurer involved in coordinating the hot tapping and siphoning of the remaining oil onboard MT Princess Empress.

CG Commodore Geronimo Tuvilla, the commander of the Incident Management Team in Oriental Mindoro, said that they will work closely with partner agencies to increase offshore and shoreline clean-up and assessment to minimize the environmental impact until the source of the spill is resolved permanently.

MT Princess Empress sank on February 28 off Naujan while carrying 900,000 liters of industrial fuel, causing a massive oil spill. More than 36,000 families have been affected in 163 barangays in Mimaropa, Calabarzon, and Western Visayas regions.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources on Saturday reported that the fishing industry has incurred losses and damage cost nearing P1 billion as a result of the environmental disaster, with over 26,000 fisherfolk greatly impacted.

MORE: Mindoro oil spill causes P1B losses, damage, says BFAR

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