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UP-MSI: Satellite image shows possible oil spill traces near Coron Island

The University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) on Monday said possible traces of the Oriental Mindoro oil spill were detected in the waters near Palawan's Coron Island.

Citing the latest report of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the UP-MSI said satellite images taken on Sunday-April 2 showed the “possible” oil slicks from submerged MT Princess Empress reaching the popular tourist destination.

“As of now, it is undetermined if the slicks in the area possibly drifted from the location of the sunken tanker, MT Princess Empress in Mindoro, or from other sources,” the experts said in a Facebook post.

“During the time the image was taken, weaker winds were noted, making it highly possible for thicker slicks to form due to less breakage from calmer waves. The slicks seen measured at about 19 kilometers in length and about 3 kilometers in width,” they added.

MT Princess Empress sank on February 28 while carrying 900,000 liters of industrial fuel.

Members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the crew of the Japanese ship Shin Nichi Maru over the weekend started their “bagging” operations to stop the leaks from the sunken motor tanker which had affected Oriental Mindoro, Antique, and Palawan.

As of March 30, more than 170,000 residents, including 17,000 fisherfolk, were affected by the leak. Over 61 tourism sites were also affected by the oil spill with around 1,000 tourist workers adversely affected. — DVM, GMA Integrated News