Operation Begins to Recover Oil From Sunken Motor Tanker, “Princess Empress”

Siphoning of the remaining oil from the sunken tanker PRINCESS EMPRESS has commenced. The wreck of the tanker is located off the coast of Oriental Mindoro in the Philippines.

The dive support vessel named “FORE OPAL” arrived in Calapan around 0900 hours and subsequently made its way to the wreck site to pump the remaining oil from the sunken motor tanker. It is estimated that approximately 100,000 liters of fuel oil still remain within the vessel’s wreck. Commodore Geronimo Tuvilla, the incident commander of the Philippine Coast Guard, reported that the operation is expected to take 20 to 30 days, depending on the weather conditions and progress made at the wreck.

Tuvilla further stated that once the oil removal process is complete, the focus will shift towards rehabilitating the affected areas and restoring the Mindoreños’ normalcy.

The PRINCESS EMPRESS sank off Oriental Mindoro on February 28th, carrying approximately 800,000 liters of oil. The Philippine Coast Guard believes that three out of the five cargo tanks leaked their contents into the sea, causing significant damage to the province’s coastal villages, which rely heavily on fishing and tourism for income. On April 5th, the Philippine Coast Guard, along with a Japanese salvor, commenced a bagging operation to seal off the leaks in the vessel.

The Philippine Maritime Industry (MARINA) has disclosed that the PRINCESS EMPRESS did not possess a valid operating permit for domestic trading at the time of the accident. The Philippine Department of Justice has alleged that the product tanker was not a newly built vessel, as claimed by its operator, “RDC Reield Marine Services.” Instead, it is alleged that the ship is a rebuilt “scrap ship” that was purchased and refurbished.

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