Over 6600 litres of oil and water mixed with other contaminated materials have so far been collected by the cleanup led by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) at the oil spill site in Oriental Mindoro. The tanker Princess Empress sank there while carrying 800,000 litres of oil.

The Princess Empress departed from Bataan en route to Iloilo with twenty crew members (including the master) and approximately 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil on board. It then encountered engine trouble due to overheating. The crew was evacuated and the tanker sank on 28 February.

In an update on Wednesday, 15 March, the PCG said a total of 700 litres of oil and water mixture was collected by MTUG Lidagat and MTUG Titan-1 on Tuesday alone. Today (16 March), the PCG says another 1000 litres of oily water mixture and seven sacks of oil-contaminated materials were collected on Wednesday. This brings the total recovered mixture to 6603 litres since March 1.

Also read: Oil spill Philippines not abating, while wreck likely located

1313 sacks with oil-contaminated materials

So far, a total of 57 sacks of oil-contaminated materials have been collected during offshore oil spill response operations.

For shoreline response, the PCG collected 242 sacks of oil-contaminated materials on 15 March, resulting in 1313 sacks and 22 drums of waste collected at thirteen affected barangays (small territorial and administrative districts forming the most local level of government) in Naujan, Bulalacao, and Pola, Oriental Mindoro, from 01 to 15 March 2023.

Oil spill boom

To date, joint government and private sector response operations have deployed an oil spill boom. Using a skimmer, oil is manually scooped from the water around the suspected area of the sunken MT Princess Empress at about 7.1 nautical miles northeast of the shorelines of Balingawan Port, Lucta Port, and Buloc Bay in Oriental Mindoro.

‘The National Strike Force Offshore Team will continue its operations around the suspected area of the sunken vessel to contain and recover the remaining oil spill, which threatens the area’s rich marine biodiversity,’ the PCG said.

Picture: A tugboat using an oil spill boom at the site of the Oriental Mindoro oil spill (courtesy of Malayan Towage & Salvage Corp., shared by the PCG on Twitter).

Also read: Philippines launches oil spill response after tanker sinks