Japan to assist in Oriental Mindoro oil spill cleanup, says envoy

By GMA Integrated News

The Japanese government is set to send a team of disaster relief experts to assist the Philippines in the ongoing cleanup of the massive oil spill from a sunken motor tanker off Najuan, Oriental Mindoro.

“In coordination with the Philippine government, Japan will send a disaster relief expert team on oil removal and control to support ongoing efforts in response to the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro,” Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa said on Twitter. 

“We are one with you in these trying times,” he said.



Among those who will be deployed are members of the Japanese Coast Guard (JCG), he added.


According to its website, the JCG has responded to 143 oil spill incidents in Japan in 2019 alone. They provide guidance and advice to responsible operators for the controlling and cleanup of the oil leak.

“On the other hand, for a large oil spill or if the responsible operator fails to deal with it properly, the JCG itself controls it by the National Strike Team, a specialist group in maritime disaster prevention, in cooperation with related organizations,” it added.

Motor tanker Princess Empress was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it sank due to strong waves on February 28. All the 20 people on board were rescued.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources previously said more than 2,000 hectares of coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass can be potentially affected by the oil spill. Water samples from several areas in Oriental Mindoro likewise failed their water quality test.

Citing information from experts, Pola Mayor Jennifer Cruz said the cleanup may take six months to a year.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., for his part, expressed hope that containing and cleaning the oil spill would not last for months. — Sundy Locus/BM, GMA Integrated News