Philippines recovers sunken MT Princess Empress 3 weeks after leak
A leaky fuel tanker that sank three weeks ago off the central Philippines has been located using a Japanese underwater robot, a regional governor announced on Tuesday, March 21, as authorities requested additional foreign assistance to combat the oil disaster.
The discovery of the MT Princess Empress, which was carrying around 800,000 liters (211,334 gallons) of industrial fuel oil when it capsized on February 28 and finally sank, was judged essential to halting the oil spill, which reached the shores of three provinces.
Governor Humerlito Dolor of Oriental Mindoro stated during a press conference that it was imperative to stop the leaks and remove any residual oil from the tanker.
Dolor released the first images of the Philippine-flagged ship from its exact location with the aid of a remotely-operated vehicle that arrived from Japan on Monday, March 20. He stated that the robot will also assist in determining the tanker’s condition.
According to Filipino marine biologists, over 36,000 hectares (88,958 acres) of coral reef, mangroves, and seagrass could be impacted by the oil spill.
Japan has also dispatched a team of coast guard officers to assist with the cleanup, according to the Philippines’ disaster agency, while five US coast guard troops have arrived to assist with the response to the oil spill, according to the US embassy.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will conduct fast environmental evaluations of affected areas and determine the need for ecosystem restoration, the embassy said.
The environment ministry of the Philippines stated that it was also in discussions with other Southeast Asian nations regarding more assistance.
In impacted locations, authorities have prohibited fishing and swimming, disrupting the livelihoods of thousands of citizens and tourism enterprises.