THE siphoning operations of the remaining oil from the sunken MT Princess Empress in Oriental Mindoro would soon be completed on June 19, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesman Rear Admiral Armand Balilo said on Saturday.
“Hopefully we can beat the target or we can beat the deadline by June 19 na matapos na iyong oil spill. Nakita ko kasi iyong mga video niya na iaakyat na iyong mga langis,” Balilo said in a news forum in Quezon City.
“May hose na nakakabit at dinadala na doon sa mga tangke doon sa loob ng barko at unti-unti nang nasisipsip at hopefully, by June 19, ay tapos na iyong syphoning operations,” he added.
Balilo said the oil can no longer spread to areas near the site of the sunken oil tanker and personnel used a catch can to contain and collect the seepage.
“Hindi na siya kumakalat. May mga seepage pa doon sa ibang tangke pero ang ginagawa kasi parang may bag na sumasalo, catch can ang tawag doon at doon pumunta iyong mga langis at kapag naipon doon iyong langis ay sinisipsip na papanhik doon sa ISO tank noong Opal iyong vessel na ginagamit sa siphoning,” he said.
Balilo said the siphoning operations began on May 29 with the help of a Dynamic Support Vessel (DSV) Fire Opal chartered by Malayan Towage and Salvage Corp. (MTSC).
The tanker sank in the waters near the municipality of Naujan on February 28, while carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil.
MTSC employed remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to open the cargo oil tanks (COTs) onboard the vessel. The deployment of ROVs allows for precise and controlled access to the submerged compartments.
To collect the remaining oil, a specialized catch can was deployed at the location of the sunken tanker, which lies at a depth of 400 meters below sea level.
The catch can serve as a containment device, capturing any oil released during the siphoning process.
Out of the eight compartments on the tanker, Balilo said two of them still contain a significant amount of oil.
These two compartments are being targeted for extraction, with the remaining compartments already processed, Balilo added.