A ranking official of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) on Friday said that the oil slick from the sunken oil tanker off the coast of Naujan, Oriental Mindoro has reached 25 kilometers as authorities continue their search.
In a press conference, Environment Undersecretary for Integrated Environmental Science Carlos David said that based on the aerial inspection conducted this morning, it is important to determine the exact location of the MT Princess Empress to stop the oil spill.
“This morning, led by our Secretary (Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga) we did an aerial survey of the site to correctly identify the location of the oil slick. The oil slick is now 25 kilometers long,” David said.
David added that it is necessary to contain the oil spill to minimize its impact onp the coastal villages and marine protected areas.
“It is very important to locate the sunken vessel as based on our projection, it still contains big volume of oil that has yet to reach the surface and needs to be recovered to stop the spread of oil slick as it is more difficult to conduct the cleanup if oil spill reaches the coastal areas,” David added.
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For her part, Yulo-Loyzaga said that a vessel of the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) will arrive on Saturday from Subic to determine the exact location of the oil tanker.
“By tomorrow (Saturday), NAMRIA will deploy its vessel from the base in Subic. It has the capability to locate the sunken vessel for us to contain the oil spill,” Yulo-Loyzaga added.
Yulo-Loyzaga added that the DENR has tapped marine scientists to help in the recovery efforts of the sunken vessel.
“The marine scientists will help in determining the exact location of the ship as we have yet to pinpoint it. We did this before in Guimaras but it is more difficult here but we need to locate it in order for us to plan,” she added.
For his part, University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Marine Science Institute scientist Fernando Siringan said that based on the initial study conducted, the oil slick is going towards the Sulu Sea.
“Based on our model, the oil spill is now all the way down to the south, going to the Sulu Sea. Coastal communities in the affected areas should be forewarned to be able to prepare,” Siringan said.