Japan's ROV to remain in PH to assist in mitigating oil spill – Mindoro governor

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 22) — The Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) from Japan that was used to pinpoint the location of the sunken MT Princess Empress will remain in the Philippines to help mitigate the oil spill, Oriental Mindoro Gov. Humerlito "Bonz" Dolor said Wednesday.

Dolor told reporters that to stop the sunken tanker from leaking oil, authorities will use methods such as bagging, wherein a specialized bag will be used to catch the oil in the 23 leaking areas of the ship.

"The bag, using the ROV, will be put down. Habang bumababa, lalabas yung tubig. Yung supot o bag ipapasok doon sa loob ng nagli-leak na portion, and using the ROV, hihilahin yung tali para magsara," Dolor said.

[Translation: While going down, the water will filter out. The bag will then be inserted to the leaking portion, which would be sealed using the ROV.]

"Kapag sarado na siya, yung oil lalabas at ma co-contain ng bag. Tapos, saka siya kukunin, papalitan ulit habang nagpro-proceed yung patching leaks," he added.

[Translation: Once the leak is closed, the oil will seep into the bag. Then, the bag will be retrieved and replaced while authorities are proceeding with patching the leaks.]

Dolor said authorities are now in contact with companies based in Singapore that may supply the specialized bags, adding that they are also available in the United Kingdom.

He also said once the supply of specialized bags arrives, it will undergo a matching test with the ROV to determine their compatibility.

After the bagging operation, the leaking areas of the sunken tanker will be patched with another metal and undergo hot tapping and pumping, which according to Dolor, would "entail longer and harder work."

"Ang purpose kasi is to immediately restrain yung effect nung laman (ng MT Princess Empress). They are going to extract the oil from the area," explained Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commodore Geronimo Tuvilla, incident commander for the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro.

[Translation: The purpose is to immediately restrain the effects of MT Princess Empress' load. They are going to extract the oil from the area.]

The sunken tanker was spotted using the ROV on Tuesday.

According to a PCG report, the tanker suffered extensive structural damage after sinking.

It found that the oil is coming from ballast tank vents and access hatches, cargo tank pressure valves, and cargo pipework on the deck of the ship.