Oil spillage from the submerged tanker MV Princess Empress in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, has reportedly made its way to the shoreline of the town of Agutaya in northern Palawan.
Traces of oil were apparently discovered on the coasts of Concepcion Island in images uploaded by Dyle Zoon on Facebook on Sunday, March 5, and the stench has already reached Brgy. Cambian on mainland Agutaya.
“Nakarating na po sa Concepcion, Agutaya, Palawan ang oil spill at amoy na amoy na ang langis sa cambian lalo’t higit malapit sa baybayin. Always wear your face mask mga kabarangay na andyan sa baybayin ng Cambian [sic],” the netizen said in his post.
Dyle Zoon also claimed a fish kill but failed to share any images of it.
Agutaya Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office chief Joenel Guarin said that they are yet to verify the reports as a composite team is expected to conduct an evaluation in the reported areas.
“Bukas po [Marso 6], araw ng Lunes, 9:00 ng umaga ay aalis ang team namin kasama ang Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) at local government unit (LGU), at iba pang composite team natin to verify yong mga dumating na report sa amin about oil spill, partikular sa Brgy. Algeciras at Conception,” he said.
“Pero may mga report na dumating sa akin and need pa nating i-evaluate ang area, maybe around 2 p.m. ang dating natin sa area, dahil medyo malakas ang amihan sa dagat,” he said.
The MDRRMO of Agutaya is calling on its residents to report any traces of oil spill to their hotline 09634960390.
Residents in the area who depend on seaweed farming have already prepared oil spill liners to protect their livelihood.
Victorio Cataylo, an Agutaya resident, also uploaded images on Sunday showing residents using old clothes and plastic bottles as a barrier from the spillage.
“Oil spill is now directly affecting Quinluban area along Silad Island, Maliguen Island, and Barangay Concepcion. Barangay residents of Algeciras are busy preparing oil spiller lines contributing used clothing to prevent oil spill to reach to the seaweeds parcels in Quinluban area including sitio Banted and the rest of Barangay Algeciras. We are now in an emergency situation as far as our seaweeds farming is concern [sic],” Cataylo claimed.
“Sa patuloy na pag ihip ng hanging amihan inaasahan na patuloy pa na lalawak [ang] maging coverage ng oil spill dito sa may Quinluban area. Hindi basta mapigil ang pagdagsa ng langis pero makakatulong ang pagharang ng mga oil spiller lines para ma detour ang ruta ng oil spill. Sama sama ngayon ang mga mamayan coast guard at mga guro sa pag control ng nasabing oil spill. Humingi rin kami ng tulong sa bayan ng Agutaya na magpadala pa ng mga materyales gaya ng mga lumang damit lubid at empty bottles para sa boya ng mga oil spiller,” he added.
According to an update from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute, the spill is likely to reach the Cuyo Islands.
UPMSI said the local government and residents should “prepare for the possibility that the oil spill could reach their shores.”
“The projected spill will continue due south west to Cuyo group of islands and will get closer to northern Palawan mainland in about a week’s time,” it said.