MANILA – The oil tanks of the sunken M/T Princess Empress have been emptied but containment efforts will continue, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported on Saturday.
About 95 percent of the affected shorelines are now clean and only "very minimal traces" of oil are left in the vessel, spokesperson Rear Admiral Armand Balilo said during the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.
“The eight tanks are now empty with minimal pipe drips, which can no longer be recovered through siphoning,” Balilo said, adding that two salvage vessels would remain in the area.
He said the operation is not yet over.
“There’s still much more to do,” he said, referring to the oil containment operation. “We will make an evaluation this week to make sure that the affected shorelines have been cleaned.”
The M/T Princess Empress was reportedly carrying about 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it encountered engine trouble on Feb. 28, leading to its sinking off the waters of Naujan, Oriental Mindoro.
As of the June 14 report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, a total of 24,698 fishers from Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Western Visayas have been affected.
The oil spill cost them an estimated PHP4.99 billion in production while affected families were placed at 42,487 or 200,244 persons residing in 262 villages in the three regions.
The government has so far provided PHP662.4 million worth of assistance. (PNA)