THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has expressed confidence that extraction of the remaining industrial fuel from a sunken tanker in Oriental Mindoro would be ultimately completed by June 19.
The PCG’s target date of completion comes much earlier than earlier predictions by National Task Force on Oil Spill Management which said on June 1 said the siphoning operations might take 30 days to accomplish.
“Their operations are very efficient and I am convinced that 100 percent of the oil would be retrieved from the tanks by June 19,” PCG spokesman Read Admiral Armand Balilo said during Saturday’s New Forum in Quezon City.
Balilo was referring to the Malayan Towage and Salvage Corp. which was using remotely controlled mechanisms to collect the remaining oil from the tanks of the M/T Princess Empress which went down off Pola and Naujan towns in Oriental Mindoro last Feb. 28.
The ill-starred vessel was reportedly carrying about 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it developed engine trouble, giving rise to the massive environmental disaster.
Approximately 50 liters and 75 liters of oil have been recovered from COT No. 1 Starboard and COT No. 1 Port, respectively.
The amount of oil recovered from COT No. 2 Starboard and COT No. 2 Port is yet to be determined.
As of May 31, about 83.74 percent or 64.43 km. of the 79.33 km. of affected coastlines have been cleared of oil slicks, leaving only 16.26 percent or 12.89 km. awaiting the cleanup operations.
The ongoing operations have so far collected about 44,656.30 liters of oily water mixture; and 10,708 sacks, 997 drums, 119 pails, and 648 1-tonner bags of oil-contaminated sand/debris and oily waste from Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Western Visayas.
On June 2, the Dynamic Support Vessel Fire Opal arrived at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone to assist in extraction of the oil from the sunken vessel.