Photo: “Copyright © Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)”

Philippine authorities said today they will pursue legal actions against the owner, operator, or insurer of the sunken motor tanker Princess Empress.

Specifically, the “municipality of Pola will create a Task Force Pola to pursue appropriate legal actions against the owner, operator, or insurer of MT Princess Empress in proper courts or administrative agencies for the damages they incurred,” in accordance with today´s Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) report in social media twitter and facebook, regarding the ongoing oil spill response operations in Oriental Mindoro.

Furthermore, the concerned agencies discussed the simultaneous operations of the coastal clean-up, tomorrow 10th of March, and the residents and local fishermen will assist in the operations. M/Tug Titan-1 and M/Tug Lidagat conducted dispersant application, and containment and recovery operations.

As Shipping Telegraph reported the vessel encountered engine trouble due to overheating and it drifted towards the vicinity waters off Balingawan Point, Naujan, in Oriental Mindoro, due to rough sea conditions, until it became half-submerged on 28th of February 2023. It is worth mentioning that the vessel departed from Bataan en route to Iloilo with 20 crew members (including the master) and approximately 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil on board.

Photo: “Copyright © Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)”

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of Philippines has created an “oil spill task force NAUJAN” to respond to the emergency situation. The DENR said it will deploy a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV), to fully determine where the vessel is, and to completely model the way the oil will be spilling from the vessel, should the currents and weather permit.

Philippine authorities said few days ago they may have detected the possible site where the sunken motor tanker Princess Empress is actually located. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of Philippines said the site is about 1,200 feet, or approximately 400 meters below sea level. It is located about Northeast of Pola, Oriental Mindoro, but it is believed to have moved Southeast from its last known position where it completely submerged.

The Philippine Coast Guard reported today further actions regarding the ongoing oil spill response. In accordance with the coast guard update “DOH required all coastal clean-up participants to wear full-face respirators to uphold public safety. Toxicologists will also be present during the initiative.”

As it said shoreline clean-up team in Pola Oriental Mindoro, observed minimal traces and patches of oil along the shorelines, with a three-kilometer length area covered. They also noted patches of oil floating on the surface of the water.