Disasters & Accidents

Oil spill from tanker capsize in the Philippines spread over 37 sq. km

Manila, Mar 23 (EFE).- The accident of a tanker around the end of February has left an oil spill of more than 37 square kilometers over the Philippine Sea, while the authorities of the country work towards containing it.

“A large uniform oil stain of about 37.84 (square) kilometers has remained due to the calm in the sea during the last few days,” Dr. Irene Rodriguez, an expert sent by the University of the Philippines to study the environmental impact of the spill, told EFE Thursday.

While the uniformity of the spill could help contain it through special nets and meshes, Rodriguez noted that wind predictions indicate that it could move north in the coming days, posing a threat to Isla Verde, a marine sanctuary of great ecological value where part of the spill has already reached.

“Environmental damage could affect dozens of endemic species that inhabit this marine corridor,” Rodriguez added.

Isla Verde is home to threatened species such as the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, whale sharks, manta rays, dugongs, napoleon fish, giant groupers and giant clams, according to the university data.

On the other hand, the Philippine authorities consider sealing the routes through which the oil has been escaping from the tanker at the end of February off the western coast of the archipelago, in a complex technical operation almost 400 meters deep.

In a press conference, the governor of Oriental Mindoro -the province most affected by the spill-, Humberlito Dolor, explained that the operation would involve sucking the oil from the ship with special bags, and patching the leaks, according to the state news agency PNA on Wednesday.

The ship MT Princess, a Philippine-flagged freighter built in 2022, capsized on Feb.28 with 800,000 liters of industrial oil, and the spill continues to spread into the sea, and has already affected more than 151,000 people living in the coasts.

For its part, the Philippine coast guard still does not know how many liters of oil are left in the sunken freighter, and how many liters emanate from leaks on a daily basis. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button