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MT Princess Empress had no CPC, MARINA insists

MT Princess Empress should not have sailed into sea as it does not have a Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) yet, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) on Thursday insisted.

According to Sandra Aguinaldo's report on "24 Oras," MARINA's statement came after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) released a copy of the CPC, noting that the maritime body validated it.

"It's true that the company has a valid company certificate of public convenience. However, as confirmed by our administrator during the Senate inquiry, this particular tanker vessel, MT Princess Empress, has not yet been added to the company CPC," MARINA spokesperson Sharon de Chavez-Aledo said.

On Wednesday, PCG showed the CPC, which the owner, RDC Reield Marine Services, submitted.

"So this is the certificate of Certificate of Public Convenience that was submitted to us, to Coast Guard Station Manila last February 27, noong dumaan 'yung Motor Vehicle Princess Empress. We relied on the CPC para payagan ‘yung barko na maglayag,” PCG spokesperson Rear Admiral Armando Balilo said.

One document showed that MARINA gave the certificate to the RDC, which also included MARINA's decision to allow the amendment to add the ship to the company's fleet.

Although it has a stamp that is a certified true copy of MARINA, it does not contain a signature.

The PCG had said it is checking the validity of the document.

“Ito po ay tinitingnan ng DOTR. We appeal to everyone na magtulungan po tayo para po maresolba po itong krisis na meron diyan po sa Mindoro,” Assistant Secretary Julius Yano of the DOTR maritime sector said.

Meanwhile, RDC said in a statement that the remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) is coming to the Philippines from Japan to conduct a visual survey of the sunken ship.

The ROV is expected to arrive on Monday, March 20, 2023, to start operations. It will be deployed to confirm the location of the vessel, which is thought to be at a depth of 400 meters in an area approximately 15 kilometers northeast of Mindoro.

The MT Princess Empress sank on February 28, carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel. Oil spills were reported in several areas in Mindoro, prompting the coastal town of Pola to declare a state of calamity.

According to the PCG, the motor tanker sank 400 meters into the ocean, which was too deep for divers to reach. 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said more than 2,000 hectares of coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass could be affected

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has placed an oil spill boom to contain the leak while the clean-up operations are ongoing.—Sherylin Untalan/LDF, GMA Integrated News