Over 84% of Mindoro’s oil spill-affected coastline cleaned, says Galvez

Defense Senior Undersecretary Carlito Galvez Jr. announced on Friday that the national government has cleaned up over 84% of the coastline affected by the oil spill in Mindoro.

In an update to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Galvez reported that of the 74.71 kilometers of affected coastline, 62.95 kilometers, or 84.26%, has been cleaned as of May 10, 2023.

Galvez also stated that Clusters 4 and 5, which include the municipalities of Bongabong, Roxas, Mansalay, Bulalacao, San Teodoro, Baco, and Puerto Galera, are now within acceptable standards for fishing activities.

However, Clusters 1, 2, and 3, which are within the vicinity of the submerged ship, are still not safe for fishing.

Galvez said that a total of 6,801 liters of oil waste and 300,603.60 liters of oil-contaminated waste have been collected through the combined efforts of various agencies and organizations.

A siphoning vessel from Singapore is expected to arrive by the end of the month to remove the remaining oil, and oil removal operations are set to begin in the first week of June, estimated to last for 30 days.

Marcos had directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government to coordinate with local officials to designate alternative fishing areas during his visit to Oriental Mindoro last month.

The government has provided P516,873,483 worth of early recovery assistance to 96,256 residents affected by the oil spill in the province.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is expected to release the water test results and its corresponding advisory not later than May 15.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau will plot water quality test sites on a map for visualization, while the Department of Tourism and P&I Correspondent Aqueous Inc. will determine the number of insurance claimants under the tourism industry.

The National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Labor and Employment will identify alternative livelihood for the affected population.

In March, the Japanese salvage vessel Shin Nichi Maru arrived at the port of Calapan in Oriental Mindoro to help in the cleanup efforts.

The MT Princess Empress was reported to contain around 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it ran aground off Naujan, Oriental Mindoro on Feb. 28 due to engine trouble and eventually sank the following day.

Experts and coast guards from other countries also offered assistance in containing the oil spill.

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