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Philippines oil spill now stretches over 6 kms

Philippines oil spill now stretches over 6 kms
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Monday, 13 March, 2023, 22:40

The spread of the oil spill from a sunken tanker in the waters off Oriental Mindoro has reached over 6 kilometers, an environmental group said Monday, Report informs via ABS CBN.

The Princess Empress was carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it sank on February 28.

"Based on our satellite imagery from our mapping team in Greenpeace International, we have seen as of March 8 around 6.2 kilometers worth of oil that is continually being spilled," Greenpeace Philippines campaigner Jefferson Chua told ANC's "Headstart".

"This is equivalent to around a thousand football fields. So, we can imagine how big that is."

Should the spillage continue, Chua said all of the 800,000 liters of oil would spill out, citing projections by the UP Marine Science Institute.

"With their projection of around a thousand barrels a day, we will see na mauubos 'yung 800,000, which will put it way beyond the Guimaras oil spill, which is considered the worst in Philippine history," he said.

In August 2006, an oil tanker sank off the coast of Guimaras, spilling more than 500,000 liters of bunker fuel.

Greenpeace Philippines raised alarm the oil slick may reached Verde Island Passage — one of the most biodiverse marine habitats in the planet.

The group warned of "far-reaching effects" in terms of economy, tourism and biodiversity.

The government has sought help from Japan and the United States as they struggle to contain the oil spill. So far, Japan has answered the call for help by sending last week an 8-man team from Tokyo.

The oil spill has reached Caluya, Antique. The town of Taytay, Palawan also reported presence of oil. Dozens of people have fallen ill in Oriental Mindoro after oil washed up on their shores. Pola, Oriental Mindoro Mayor Jennifer Cruz has appealed for more aid as the spillage continues to threaten the livelihood of her constituents.

The submerged tanker is believed to be about 400 meters below the waves, but authorities have said the country does not have the capability to reach the wreckage and remove the oil.