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Extent of oil spill almost the size of Quezon City — PhilSA

The extent of the oil spill from the sunken Motor Tanker Princess Empress is almost the same size as Quezon City, according to the satellite image from the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA).

According to Jun Veneracion reported on "24 Oras," from March 3 to March 8 monitoring showed that the area of the oil spill was only 1 to 13 square kilometers.

However, based on the captured satellite image last March 23, the area affected by the oil spill has reached 112 square kilometers.

“Napakalaki po ng extent po noong kung ikukumpara sa isang municipality its already almost the size of Quezon City,” said Dr. Gay Jane Perez, PhilSA Deputy Director General.

(The extent was very large, if this is compared to a municipality, it's already almost the size of Quezon City.)

A few days after the MT Princess Empress sank on February 28, the oil from the vessel was heading in the direction of the coastal towns of Pola. But by March 23, the direction changed from Northwest from Southwest.

On Monday, traces of oil were observed in a satellite image near Verde Island.

“Mas mahirap din po i-contain ang daming pinuntahan ng oil so hindi po sya localized lamang na isahang sweep eh ma contain na natin,” Dr. Perez.

(It is more difficult to contain the spread of the oil so the clean up efforts is not localized, it cannot be done in one sweep.)

The PhilSA hopes the collected satellite data can be used as a tool in the government's oil spill response.

Meanwhile, Cedric Castillo reported on "24 Oras" that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) confirmed that four of the ship's eight tanks had completely are now empty.

“Doon sa original 822 thousand liters, vina-validate pa naman, close to 400 (thousand liters) na lang natitirang langis sa barko,” said PCG spokesperson Rear Admiral Armando Balilo.

Only four of its eight tanks still have oil, while the other four are completely leaking, based on a survey by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that tracked the ship. The ROV is operated by a Japanese contractor.

It will be studied whether the South Korean Coast Guard, which has arrived in the country to help, also needs to deploy its own ROV.

“Ito yung positive redundancy. Kung mas maraming ROVs, mas maganda. Magandang magkaroon, magandang pag-aralan, para pag dumating yung panahon we can respond properly, makakaya nating tumayo sa sarili nating paa. Kagaya yung time na kailangang I-respond, mas mapapabilis,” said Balilo.

(This is positive redundancy. It is good that there are more ROVs. It is good to have more ROVs to better understand the situation. So if the time comes we can respond properly, we can do this on our own. The time to respond [to similar situations] will be faster.)

The PCG will also consider whether it is necessary to include assets such as ROV in the budget request next year.

More than ten thousand liters of water mixed with oil and tons of debris covered in industrial oil.

“Nung unang bugso, ang report ay 55 kilometers pero ngayon mga 9 kilometers na lang yung may patches of oil,” said Balilo.

The remaining oil will be collected by equipment from Singapore, which is expected to arrive in the country this week. -- Sherylin Untalan/BAP, GMA Integrated News