Watch: Search On For Sunken Philippine Oil Tanker With 800000 Litres Leaking Fuel Oil
Relevant Philippine coast guard authorities are now rushing to discover and secure a tanker that sank in the rough seas and is spilling industrial fuel oil cargo it had been loaded with.
The tanker named MT Princess Empress was loaded with 800,000 litres of industrial fuel oil. It reportedly sank off the northeast coast of Mindoro island in the Philippines on 28 February.
The tanker was on its way from Bataan province, near the capital, Manila, to the central province of Iloilo.
The vessel encountered an issue with the engine and eventually sank into the rough sea. Once it sank, a spillage was observed by the coast guard and was thought to be diesel fuel from the malfunctioned engine.
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However, on conducting a test of water samples, relevant authorities confirmed on Thursday that it was some spillage of industrial oil cargo the tanker was loaded with. This industrial oil leakage was reportedly spotted off the Oriental Mindoro province.
By Wednesday, the coast guard mentioned that a spill had spread over an area of over 24sq km.
However, anything certain could not be said regarding the extent of this spillage. A Philippines Coast Guard spokesperson named Rear Admiral Armand Balilo, as gathered from several media portals, mentioned, a vessel’s structural integrity may get somewhat compromised during the sinking, and it might develop a hole via which the oil would be leaking under pressure.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for expert divers to reach the oil tanker as it sank into more than 400 meters deep seas, he added.
Balilo further said that the cargo wasn’t sealed and was also loaded into the tanker. Oriental Mindoro’s provincial Governor named Humerlito Dolor confirmed that a search mission was underway.
The coast Guard has been using oil spill booms to contain this oil spillage. The areas where oil spillage has been spotted include Verde Island Passage, a marine ecosystem, which provides livelihood and food to millions. Environmental groups have been expressing concerns that oil spills could perhaps endanger 21 marine protected zones.
References: Aljazeera, WION