Philippines Oil Spill From Sunken Cargo Vessel Poses Risk To Marine Sanctuary

The industrial oil leak from the submerging of a cargo vessel in February 2023 has reportedly hit the marine corridor of the Isla Verde, a popular marine sanctuary that boasts quite high ecological value that can result in an environmental catastrophe, the coast guard informed the EFE on Monday.

The oil has been seen in the marine corridor and on beaches of Isla Verde, coast guard sources reported to the EFE in Mindoro, the island next to the marine sanctuary.

Oil Spill
Image for representation purpose only

The arrival of the spill at the marine sanctuary could further generate an ecological catastrophe in the corridor since it’s a marine reserve with rich flora and fauna, and where endless endemic species have lived, per Irene Rodriguez associated with the Marine Institute at the University of the Philippines.

Until now, the university has estimated over 533 hectares of mangroves to have been impaired by the spill in Pola, in Oriental Mindoro. The latter is a town that has reportedly suffered the maximum from the oil spill owing to its proximity to the cargo vessel sinking.

The MT Princess, a cargo vessel flying the Philippine flag and built in 2022, submerged on 28 Feb with about 800,000 liters of industrial oil close to the coast of Mindoro island.

Per a report published on Sunday by the university, the ship continues spilling oil into the waters of the ocean, although it has not shared the details of the number of liters of oil in the ocean so far.

The wind direction, which so far was favorable to contain the spill in an area comparatively close to the sunken vessel, might change in the next few days and spread the oil to the north which could impact additional zones of the Isla Verde sanctuary.

The government of the Philippines is receiving aid from the nation’s Japanese counterpart for containing the spill that continues spewing from the cargo vessel that sank at a depth of 400 meters without the authorities having yet managed to seal the route via which the oil has been escaping.

Per Rodriguez, the cleanup of the spill might take up to a year, and fishermen hailing from towns that lie close to the spill might not also be able to fish in the waters for six months.

Source: Philstar Global, Manila Bulletin

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