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Some areas off limits due to Oriental Mindoro oil spill — PCG

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Friday said it has designated an exclusion area due to the possible threat of the oil spill in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro.

Interviewed on Dobol B TV, PCG spokesperson Rear Admiral Armand Balilo said some areas cannot be accessed considering that the oil spill may affect the health of residents.

“Tama ka doon sapagkat may exclusion area na tayong inilagay. Ibig sabihin, may mga areas po na hindi na po dapat puntahan sapagkat delikado at maaaring maapektuhan yung kalusugan ng mga tao,” Balilo said.

(You are correct because we have designated an exclusion area. It means there are areas that cannot be accessed because it would be dangerous and may affect the health of a person.)

Balilo made the statement when asked about the effect of the oil spill on the primary livelihood of Naujan residents, which is fishing.

The PCG said the areas tagged as exclusion zones are Naujan, Pola, Pinamalayan, and Bongabong.

According to him, authorities have to set up oil spill booms in the affected waters because of the strong waves. He added that they will continue to attempt this on Friday.

Balilo said they are focusing on a tank where the leak may be coming from.

On Thursday, the PCG said the areas affected by the oil spill are Naujan, Pola, Pinamalayan, and Bongabong.

Also on Friday at a press conference, Balilo said the span of the oil spill shrank from six kilometers to two to three kilometers based on the survey conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“Na-obserbahan nila na parang two to three kilometers na lang yung langis na tumagas.Based doon din sa  aerial survey nila yung mga shoreline kakaunti yung trace ng spill,” he said.

(They observed that the oil spill is now only two to three kilometers. Based on their aerial survey, the spill found in the shoreline is only little.)

Due to this, Balilo said they would wait for the water sampling test done by the DENR to confirm if the oil spill was coming from the industrial fuel oil carried by the motor tanker.

“Doon pa lang natin malalaman kung talagang ito ay galing doon sa 800,000 na laman ng barko o kaya ito ay operations fuel lang na galing barko...kaya ganun siya kaakunti,” he said.

(We will find out if the oil spill was coming from the 800,000 liters of industrial fuel carried by the motor tanker or it is just operation fuel loaded in the ship that is why the leaked oil was so little.)

The PCG confirmed that the oil spill from the sunken motor tanker MT Princess Empress had industrial fuel oil, not just diesel fuel as earlier reported.

MT Princess Empress was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil.

Balilo earlier said authorities were watching out for the spill of industrialized fuel oil because this material could be destructive to marine ecosystems.

He said that the industrialized fuel oil wasn't placed in sealed containers but was loaded directly into the motor tanker.

“Kapag lumubog ang isang barko maaaring maapektuhan yung kanyang integrity, yung structure at maaaring magkaroon ng butas at ang langis na laman nito ay bumulwak dahil sa pressure,” he said.

(A ship's structural integrity may be compromised during sinking, and it may develop a hole through which oil will leak under pressure.)

According to Balilo, the motor tanker sank 400 meters, which was too deep for divers to reach. — RSJ/VBL, GMA Integrated News