RDC Reield Marine Services, owners of the sunken tanker Princess Empress, have engaged the Malayan Towage and Salvage Corporation (MTSC) to extract the remaining oil cargo from the wreck. MTSC will deploy specialised Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles (ROVs) to reach the wreck and implement the extraction process.
The Princess Empress is located at a depth of 398 metres off Mindoro in the Philippines.
Throughout the oil extraction process, MTSC tugs will remain at work with daily spill containment and oil recovery through booms, skimmers and scoops in conjunction with the Philippine Coast Guard.
Further information about the timing and the operational methods for the extraction operation will be provided as they become available.
Also read: Oil leak capping bags installed on Princess Empress wreck
Princess Empress sinking
The tanker 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 at the end of February. It then encountered engine trouble due to overheating. The crew was evacuated and the tanker sank on 28 February. The ship is leaking oil from all eight tanks and a massive oil spill response operation is underway.
Also read: Tanker Princess Empress leaking oil from eight tanks
Oil spill response update
RDC Reield Marine Services reportst that the Joint shoreline surveys (SCAT surveys) undertaken by representatives from various authorities, international experts and clean-up contractors have signed off areas previously affected in Pola, Oriental Mindoro, as requiring no further treatment. Monitoring for new oiling will continue in these cleared areas, with small teams of workers to be redeployed if new oiling impacts.
Equipment and personnel from barangays signed off as cleared by SCAT survey teams have since been redeployed to other affected areas, resulting in a speeding up of the clean-up operations across Oriental Mindoro.
In Semirara, the clean-up is also progressing well, with more contractors working on the ground than ever before. Ongoing work includes the manual collection of oil waste and cleaning of mangrove roots, high-pressure cleaning of oiled woods and coconuts and the transfer of waste to designated storage facilities.
The significant response at sea is being maintained, with daily spill containment and oil recovery on the sea surface through booms, skimmers and scoops in conjunction with the Philippine Coast Guard. Tugs have ceased their morning along-shore surveys to maximise containment and recovery time as it surfaces from the wreck.
Picture (top) by the Philippine Coast Guard.
Also read: Philippines launches oil spill response after tanker sinks