PCG tells 4 Mindoro towns to stop fishing activities as oil spill spreads

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At a glance


    The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Friday, March 3, advised residents from four municipalities in Oriental Mindoro to refrain from conducting fishing activities due to an oil spill currently wreaking havoc in the province due to the sinking of motor tanker (MT) Princess Empress.

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    The PCG designated the towns of Naujan, Pola, Pinamalayan, and Bongabong as “exclusion areas” which means that residents are prohibited from coming into contact with the coastline waters because of possible health hazards.

    Admiral Artemio Abu, PCG Commandant, joined the aerial surveillance in the vicinity waters off Naujan to determine the extent of the oil spill as patches of emulsified oil were seen in the coastal waters from the four municipalities.

    “May exclusion areas na tayong inilagay, ibig sabihin may areas na hindi na dapat puntahan sapagkat delikado at maaaring maapektuhan ang kalusugan ng mga tao (We have established exclusion areas so this means that these should not be accessed by the people because there are possible dangers to their health),” Rear Adm. Armando Balilo, PCG spokesperson, said in a radio interview with dzBB.

    This would be a problem for the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro as the primary livelihood in the affected municipalities is fishing.

    “Mahirap man itong mga bagay na ito pero kailangan nating gawin para mas lalong hindi magkaroon ng epekto sa mga kababayan natin na mangingisda (This is difficult to do but it’s a must so as to prevent further damage on our fishermen),” Balilo stated.

    Oil spill affects the marine ecosystem as it contaminates the resources and destroy their habitat, which could also lead to health problems on humans when these are consumed.

    According to the Coast Guard Aviation Force, they have observed an oil spillage with an estimated area of two to three kilometers in length. Containment operations were ongoing to prevent the spillage from further spreading. 

    The PCG earlier confirmed that the 800,000 liters of industrial cargo fuel onboard MT Princess Empress have started spilling and have mixed with the vessel’s diesel fuel that also leaked when it sank last Feb. 28 in Naujan.

    The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reportedly warned that the oil spill threatens to harm at least 21 marine protected areas in the province.