Japan PCG assessing oil spill damage

Composed of 11 experts, two teams from Japan were coordinating with the Philippine Coast Guard to visit and assess today the barangays affected by the oil spill.

An official of the Japanese Embassy in Manila confirmed Sunday the arrival of Japanese Coast Guard members in Pola, Oriental Mindoro to help in the oil spill cleanup two weeks after MT Princess Empress sank.

Composed of 11 experts, two teams from Japan were coordinating with the Philippine Coast Guard to visit and assess today the barangays affected by the oil spill.

Japanese Embassy economic affairs chief Nihei Daisuke said that “we are joining the Philippine authorities, especially the Philippine Coast Guard, to combat this oil spill incident.”

MT Princess Empress was loaded with 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it went under due to rough seas off the island of Mindoro. It is believed to be about 400 meters below sea level.

At least nine municipalities along the coast of Oriental Mindoro had been affected by the oil spill, along with more than 2,500 hectares of sea home to coral reefs, mangroves, and seaweed.

The Japanese team was welcomed Friday in Manila by Vice Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan, the PCG Deputy Commandant for Administration.

Meeting PCG

Aside from Japan, other countries have offered to help contain the oil spill that threatens the maritime ecosystem and the lives and livelihood of the residents of the affected provinces.

“On Monday, some countries want to have a meeting with the PCG to figure out how they could be of help,” PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu said on Saturday.

In particular, these countries can provide remote-operated vehicles that are needed to locate MT Princess Empress 13.89 kilometers northeast of Balingawan Point in Pola, Mindoro, he added.

Abu said that even though the PCG has a remote-operated vehicle, it cannot go down to a depth of 400 meters to where the vessel has descended.

“The vehicles would help by way of having this advanced equipment, technology, by way of getting the oil,” Abu added.

The PCG revealed on Saturday that it has also sought the help of the United States in containing the oil spill.

South Korea and other nations are also inclined to share their expertise in containing the oil spill, according to Malacañang.

It said the foreign experts were set to meet with PCG officials today.

The environmental group Protect Verde Island Passage has said at least 18,000 fisherfolk in Oriental Mindoro have lost their livelihood as fishing activities have been put on hold.

People have also gotten sick due to the oil spill reaching coasts, according to authorities.


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