The BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701) showed off its capabilities in the ongoing Regional Marine Pollution Exercise (MARPOLEX) 2022 in Makassar, Indonesia on Thursday, May 26.
The 97-meter-long multi-role response vessel of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) participated in a simulation exercise involving an oil spill scenario with Indonesia’s Directorate of Sea Transportation (DGST) and Japan Coast Guard (JCG).
It was BRP Teresa Magbanua’s maiden mission since she was commissioned into service last May 6.
The maritime exercise’s general scenario followed M/T Palu Sipat, a 200,000-tonner bulk oil carrier registered in Indonesia which carries 1.3 million barrels of oil, as it collided with a passenger vessel.
Its hull on the starboard side cracked and spilled approximately 800 barrels of crude oil onto the water. A fire occurred due to the collision, forcing crew members to jump into the water.
According to Commodore Armando Balilo, PCG spokesperson, the BRP Teresa Magbanua served as the control vessel during the simulation exercise.
Meanwhile, PCG vessels BRP Cape Engaño (MRRV-4411) rendered assistance in the search and rescue operations of the missing crew members while BRP Malapascua (MRRV-4403) provided firefighting assistance.
Moreover, BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301) focused on the oil spill and recovery operations by laying its oil spill boom to control the further spread of spilled oil in the said vicinity waters.
JCG’s PLH Mizuno also assisted during the said maritime exercise.
The drills concluded with a sailing pass among the 19 participating vessels: 14 from Indonesia’s DGST, four from PCG, and one from JCG.
“The possibility of a major oil spill in the sea lane between Lombok, Makassar Strait, and Sulawesi Sea has grown since the implementation of the 3.5 meters keel to seafloor clearance for bulk oil carriers. It caused maritime traffic to increase, putting the said vicinity waters at a higher risk of an oil spill,” said Indonesia’s DGST acting Director General Mugen Sartoto.
Sartoto said joint maritime exercises with neighboring countries such as MARPOLEX could help in preventing and responding to oil spill woes in the regional waters.
The biennial MARPOLEX is an implementation of the 1981 Sulawesi Sea Oil Spill Response Network Plan Agreement. The Regional MARPOLEX 2022 is the 22nd conduct of the said maritime exercise since its establishment in 1986.