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Japan oil removal and control experts to fly to Philippines on Friday

The team of Japanese oil removal and control experts that would aid the country in the ongoing oil spill cleanup in Oriental Mindoro will be leaving for the Philippines on Friday, the Japanese Embassy said Thursday.

According to the Embassy, the eight-man Japan Disaster Relief (JDR) Expert Team will consist of members from the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines.

They will assist Philippine authorities in conducting disaster surveys and will supervise and provide counsel to the ongoing removal and control of the oil leak from a sunken motor tanker off Naujan, Oriental Mindoro.

“While the Philippine Coast Guard, which received support for capacity enhancement from the JCG, is principally leading response activities of oil removal and control, the Philippine Government has made a request to the Government of Japan to dispatch experts who can supervise the activities,” the Embassy said in a press statement.

“Japan, in light of its amicable relations with the Philippines, has made the decision to dispatch the JDR Expert Team to the Philippines on humanitarian grounds and for marine environment conservation. Japan hopes that this assistance contributes to the prevention of further marine contamination and to the restoration of the marine environment, and intends to continue working closely with the Philippines,” it added.

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa first announced on Wednesday evening that his country would be sending the JDR team to the country for the oil leak cleanup.

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 (DENR) 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.—Sundy Locus/AOL, GMA Integrated News