The oil spill from the ill-fated tanker MT Princess Empress, which sank in the waters of Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, on Tuesday, has already reached the waters of three other towns in the province.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) bared on Thursday that aside from Naujan, oil slick has also been reported in some parts of the waters of Pola, Pinamalayan and Bongabong, all in Oriental Mindoro.
The Princess Empress drifted into the waters of Naujan where it completely sank on Wednesday after it developed engine trouble due to overheating. It was carrying at least 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil.
On Tuesday afternoon, the PCG reported that the diesel oil of the half-submerged tanker has began leaking and has already affected a stretch of 6 kilometers of waters in Naujan as of Wednesday.
On Thursday, the oil slick has widened and has spread into the waters of Barangay Buhay na Tubig in Pola and Barangay Aplaya in Bongabong, which is 35 nautical miles away from where the tanker sank.
The PCG said in a statement that based on its shoreline assessment in the waters of Pinamalayan, “patches of emulsified oil” have been detected.
“According to Bantay Dagat members, it [the oil slick] has also spread into more or less a hectare of waters near the Sibale Island,” PCG said.
The PCG confirmed that leaked industrial fuel oil has also been traced in the waters of Naujan where a tugboat tapped by the owner of the sunken vessel continued to apply dispersant against the oil spill.
It said Marine Environmental Protection Unit (MEPU) teams, other stakeholders and the affected towns have been informed to proceed to the affected areas for shoreline cleanup.
The PCG said earlier that among its objectives were to secure the shorelines of Naujan, Pola and Pinamalayan as well as the marine protected areas, while recovering the spilled oil and containing its source.