November 30, 2023

NBI files raps vs ship owner, others over oil spill

By Jun Talusan

THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday filed criminal charges against 35 individuals before the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with the sinking of the M/T Princess Empress off Naujan town in Oriental Mindoro province on Feb. 28.

According to Justice Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Mico Clavano, among the respondents in the complaint for multiple counts of falsification, multiple use of falsified documents under Article 172 in relation to Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC); multiple counts of falsification of public or official documents under Article 171 (4) of the RPC; and perjury under Article 183 of the RPC was the owner of the ship.

“Ngayon lang po tayo nakapag-file dahil inuna natin ‘yung clean up, ” Clavano said.

M/T Princess Empress was carrying more than 800,000 liters of industrial fuel when it sank off Naujan town in Oriental Mindoro.

The vessel  was en route to Iloilo to transport the industrial fuel oil from SL Gas Harbor Terminal in Limay town, Bataan province when it submerged before daybreak, reportedly due to rough sea condition.

The oil spill has affected the coastlines of several towns in Oriental Mindoro and three barangays in Caluya, Antique

The Maritime Industry Authority told a Senate hearing that Princess Empress did not have a permit to operate in the form of an amendment to its certificate of public convenience.

Meanwhile, the insurance company of the sunken tanker has agreed to cover the cost of retrieving the remaining industrial fuel from the vessel.