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Mindoro oil spill may reach Puerto Galera, Batangas —UP marine science educator

Mindoro oil spill may reach Puerto Galera, Batangas —UP marine science educator

The oil slick from a sunken motor tanker in Oriental Mindoro may reach Puerto Galera and Batangas, according to an educator from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI).

UP-MSI associate professor Dr. Irene Rodriguez explained that in their recent projections based on the water currents and wind flow, the Northeast Monsoon or Amihan has slowed down and is going towards the north along the Verde Island passage.

“Based on projections, ang oil slick ay posibleng madala towards the north. So, pa-hilaga ang direksyon ng oil slick at ito ay maaaring makaapekto sa munisipalidad o coastal environments ng Calapan, Puerto Galera, at areas sa Batangas,” she said in an interview on Super Radyo dzBB on Sunday.

(Based on projections, the oil slick could possibly be carried north. So, the direction of the oil slick is northward and it may affect the municipalities or coastal environments of Calapan, Puerto Galera, and areas in Batangas.)

Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor confirmed on Friday that the oil spill from the sunken MT Princess Empress has already reached Calapan City.

It has not yet arrived in Puerto Galera nor has affected the town’s fishes as of Thursday, according to Mayor Rocky Ilagan.

The Department of Tourism said at least 61 tourist sites were affected by the oil spill from MT Princess Empress which sank on February 28 off Naujan while carrying 900,000 liters of industrial fuel.

In a bid to control the further spread of the oil spill, Rodriguez thus suggested the placement of fireproof spill booms while the oil itself is burned.

“Certain volume lang, hindi ‘yung kalahatan. Maghihiwalay ka lang ilang volumes, 20,000 to 30,000 liters, mula sa major oil slick. Kapag nadala na sa mas kalmadong lugar ng dagat, saka siya sisindihan…and then repeat again the process,” she said.

(Only a certain volume of oil slick will be burned, not the whole thing. You will only separate a a volume of around 20,000 to 30,000 liters from the major oil slick. Once brought to a calmer area of the sea, it will be burned, and the process will be repeated.)

She also backed proposals for big vessels to be prohibited from passing the Verde Island as it is considered the center of marine biodiversity.

Motor tanker Princess Empress was carrying industrial fuel oil when it sank due to strong waves on February 28. All 20 people on board were rescued.

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

An expert estimated that it would take six months to 1 year to finish the cleanup for the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro, Pola, Oriental Mindoro Mayor Jennifer Cruz said. —KG, GMA Integrated News