A Catholic bishop this week called for “stringent standards” to ensure safety in clean-up operations following an oil spill off the coast of Mindoro island last month.
“Enforce stringent standards to safeguard everyone’s safety,” Bishop Ruperto Santos, bishop promoter of Stella Maris, a Church agency the promotes the welfare of seafarers.
The prelate said integration of precautionary measures “should be part of daily operations,” adding that there is a need for immediate action for “prevention, restoration, and clean-up efforts.”
Bishop Santos, meanwhile, expressed the Church’s “heartfelt gratitude and appreciation” to those who helped and continued to help in the restoration and rehabilitation of the affected areas.
The provincial government of Oriental Mindoro has earlier announced that it is looking at drafting a recovery plan after the sunken M/T Princess Empress has been located off the waters of Naujan town.
Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor said experts have identified 23 leaking areas from the sunken ship which suffered extensive structural damage due to the pressure while sinking.
The ship contains eight tankers carrying 800,000 liters of industrial oil.
Environmental group Greenpeace said the Philippine government must seek accountability from the companies involved, especially the owner of the cargo who “must pay for the immediate and long-term damages their business operations have caused.”
Greenpeace satellite imagery shows the day-to-day expansion of the slick that reached coastal ecosystems of Oriental Mindoro, including the biodiversity-rich Verde Island, from the period of March 8 to 23, 2023.
Fisherfolk from affected communities along the Verde Island Passage called on the government to serve justice and ensure that the livelihood and welfare of affected communities.
The fisherfolk groups said the situation must be an eye opener to the many dangers faced by life-giving seas like the Verde Island Passage, and must result in greater measures for their protection.
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