Last phase of Oriental Mindoro oil spill cleanup seen to end in a month

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 27) – A dynamic support vessel (DSV) chartered to siphon the remaining oil from the sunken MT Princess Empress in Oriental Mindoro has arrived in the Philippines from Singapore, the Presidential Communications Office said Saturday.

According to Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu, the DSV Fire Opal will set sail from Subic to Batangas on the night of May 28. From there, it will proceed to the affected waters and begin its siphoning operations on May 29.

The oil extraction is expected to be completed within 20 to 30 days, or by late June, if weather conditions permit, Abu added.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said in March that he wanted the oil spill to be cleaned up in less than four months.

READ: Marcos wants oil spill cleanup finished in under 4 months

The MT Princess Empress ran aground off the coast of Pola, Oriental Mindoro on Feb. 28.

It was carrying 900,000 liters of industrial oil as cargo and had even more fossil fuel in its engine. The OCD said the sunken vessel could contain over one million liters of oil.

Defense officer-in-charge Carlito Galvez, citing the Office of Civil Defense, earlier reported that a total of 6,801 liters of oil waste and more than 300,600 liters of oil-contaminated waste had been collected by multiple government agencies so far.

He also said that almost 63 kilometers or 84% of the 74.41 km of affected coastline had been cleaned up as of May 10.

Meanwhile, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) recently revoked the Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) of RDC Reield Marine Services, Inc., the shipping company which operated the sunken tanker, and was looking into possible liabilities of personnel from relevant maritime agencies in relation to the sinking of the tanker.

READ: MARINA revokes MT Princess Empress owner's permit to operate

It also filed administrative charges against RDC for “operating without authority or operating without a valid CPC."

The Department of Justice is also trying to build a case and even mulled filing a ‘writ of kalikasan’ against RDC.

READ: DOJ eyes writ of kalikasan over Oriental Mindoro oil spill