THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) confirmed on Thursday, March 2, 2023, an oil spill in the waters off Naujan, Oriental Mindoro after an oil tanker carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil sank off the vicinity of Tablas Island.

In a statement, the PCG said it is currently applying dispersant in the affected waters.

“Sa shoreline assessment na isinasagawa ng PCG sa Pinamalayan, na-obserbahan ang patches of emulsified oil,” it said.

(In the shoreline assessment conducted by the PCG in Pinamalayan, patches of emulsified oil were observed.)

“Ayon sa mga Bantay Dagat, nakakalat na din ito sa humigit-kumulang isang ektaryang katubigan malapit sa Sibale Island,” it added.

(According to the Coast Guard, it has also spread over approximately one hectare of water near Sibale Island.)

In a separate statement, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the oil spill may affect 21 marine protected areas.

Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor said in a radio interview that the oil spill, which has spread to an area of about 6 kilometers by 4 kilometers, will also affect the livelihood of fishermen in the area.

He said they are ready to provide aid to the affected population.

Dolor said the owner of MT Princess Empress also gave its assurance to cover the damages incurred due to the incident.

The vessel sank on Tuesday, February 28, while on its way to Iloilo from Bataan after encountering engine trouble. It has 20 crew on board who were all rescued by another passing vessel. (SunStar Philippines)