Some marine protected areas affected by Oriental Mindoro oil spill —PCG

By GMA Integrated News

The oil spill in Oriental Mindoro has affected some marine protected areas, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Friday.

“Meron pong marine protected areas sa bandang Naujan, Pola... Hindi ko lang ma-recall kung ilan ang marine protected areas dito (I just cannot recall how many marine protected areas are there),” said PCG spokesperson Rear Admiral Armand Balilo at a televised public briefing.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) previously said 21 locally managed marine protected areas can be potentially affected

 on a maximum of 40-kilometer radius from 5 nautical miles east of Balingawan Port. 

The potential risk areas include seagrass beds, mangroves, and dispersion pathways for spawned fish larvae, it added.

The oil spill caused Pola town in Oriental Mindoro to declare a "state of calamity" as local officials said that their seawater and shoreline have turned black, and various species of fish have died.

The DENR has already formed “Task Force Naujan Oil Spill” to secure marine protected areas that may be affected by the possible oil spill.


Balilo, meanwhile, said it would be difficult for responders to execute salvage operations because motor tanker MT Princess Empress sank 300 to 400 meters deep that divers would not be able to reach.

Due to this, the last resort left for responders is to recover the oil leaking from the motor tanker.

Authorities are now investigating the cause of the incident.

Balilo said the result of the probe would determine if there are people accountable for the sinking of the motor tanker.

The PCG on Thursday also confirmed that the oil spotted in the area where the motor tanker sank came from the industrial fuel oil the vessel was carrying and not just diesel fuel as earlier reported.

MT Princess Empress was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it sank due to strong waves on February 28.

All 20 people on board were rescued. —Joviland Rita/ VAL, GMA Integrated News