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Oil tanker carrying 800K liters of fuel sinks off Tablas Island

A motor tanker carrying hundreds of thousands of liters of industrialized fuel oil sank off Tablas Island in Romblon early Tuesday morning, a port official in Batangas said.

Interviewed on Super Radyo dzBB, Dr. Joselito Sinocruz, Batangas Port manager, said a passing foreign vessel was able to rescue all the 20 people on board MT Princess Empress.

"Ang tripulante nailigtas lahat, 20 katao kasama 'yung kapitan [all the 20 crew members, including the captain, were rescued]," he said, adding the crew members will be brought to Subic within the day.

The tanker, which was on its way to Iloilo, was carrying 800,000 liters of industrialized fuel oil, Sinocruz said, citing the captain of MT Princess Empress.

The incident happened about 2 a.m. due to strong waves, Sinocruz added.

The official said they have yet to receive information if there was an oil spill, but the incident has already been reported to the Philippine Coast Guard for proper action.  ?

Meanwhile, aerial surveillance by the coast guards showed a suspected diesel fuel leak from the tanker measuring about five kilometers in length and 50 meters in width.

"Kung diesel lang ito, normally it dissipates under the heat of the sun or because of the weather, or kahit 'yung alon. Wala po tayong dapat ipag-alala sa ngayon," said PCG spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo in Saleema Refran’s report on "24 Oras."

(If it’s diesel, normally it dissipates under the heat of the sun, because of the weather, or because of the waves. We see no reason to worry right now.)

The PCG already deployed BRP Melchora Aquino and a multi-response vessel, but both have yet to reach the tanker due to rough sea conditions. 

For its part, the operating company of MT Princess Empress positioned two tugboats with spill booms to monitor the tanker and the oil spill. —with Sundy Locus/KBK/VBL, GMA Integrated News