Submerged Philippine Tanker That Spilled Oil Had No Permit

Oil Spill (CPC), lawmakers reportedly uncovered in a Senate committee hearing on the environment.

The MT Princess Empress has zero authority to function as an amendment to the certificate of public convenience issued to RDC Reield Marine Services.

Cynthia Villar mentioned reading a report from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), which issues CPCs.

Submerged Tanker In Oil Spill Did Not Have Permits
Image for representation purposes only

At the hearing, senators reportedly asked the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) if it made necessary investigations before the MT Princess Empress could sail.

Fritzie Tee, the VP of RDC, mentioned that MT Princess Empress was new and that the firm had applied for an amended CPC in November 2022. The firm has a CPC. However, the new vessel further necessitates an amendment reportedly approved by the MARINA.

MARINA’s administrator Hernani Fabia mentioned that the CPC application was still under processing.

He also agreed with Sen. Risa Hontiveros that this tanker shouldn’t have sailed.

On questioning by Sen. Francis Escudero, Tee mentioned that the MT Princess Empress had sailed about nine times before this incident.

Escudero mentioned that it was plausible that owners thought the CPC would be released, so they permitted the tanker to get deployed.

Tulfo and Villar immediately warned that the claimants — individuals and local government units — might be unable to get insurance compensation from RDC Reield Maritime Services, as it wasn’t supposed to be deploying the tanker in the absence of an updated CPC.

Oriental Mindoro Gov. Humerlito Dolor informed the inquiry that RDC lawyers gave assurances earlier that the firm would immediately place claims offices.

RDC informed the PCG that it was insured for about $1 billion.

Villar said that he does not want the individuals to depend on the $1-billion insurance and that they should be planning so that we wouldn’t get that. Villar mentioned that the insurance firm would find a basis not to pay them.

House probe urged

With the alarming impacts of the oil spill from the tanker, Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco Jr. reportedly has requested a House panel to examine the extent of the effect on the environment, tourism, public health, and livelihood in the impacted areas.

Haresco has reportedly filed House Resolution No. 842, which directed the House committees on tourism and natural resources to make the inquiries in the legislation aid.

The committees were reportedly asked to recommend the most suitable measures for rehabilitating damaged coastal areas and assisting the impacted communities in mitigating the effect of such a disaster.

The government must safeguard marine resources and the health and welfare of the public, especially the communities that are heavily impacted by the most recent oil spillage in Oriental Mindoro and neighbouring provinces, per the resolution.

In a statement, Haresco mentioned that MT Princess Empress is reportedly liable for the oil spill per multiple international conventions.

He also noted that following the 1992 CLC, the oil tanker owners are liable to pay up to P331.3 million subject to computation and additional liabilities following the International.

Oil Pollution Compensation Fund in case they cannot comply.

Beyond cleanups, efforts must be made to make Princess Empress and RDC Reield Marine Services’ owners accountable to the government for impairing the tourism industries and marine resources and to the impacted communities whose livelihood and health are significantly compromised, he added.

References: Business World, Philstar Global

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