Authorities rush to find sunken tanker causing hazardous oil spill offshore the Philippines
(WO) – According to Reuters, a sunken fuel tanker in the Philippines has environmental officials scrambling to contain an oil spill that occurred on Friday. The oil spill poses a hazard as it reaches coastal towns and endangers marine life nearby. As of Friday, the tanker, MT Princess Empress, is still unaccounted for and carried 211,338 gallons of oil.
While authorities are unsure of why the sinking and oil spill occurred, the tanker did experience engine issues on Tuesday while en route to the Ilolio province. Overheating and choppy waters may have contributed to the disaster.
According to the Environmental Ministry, the tanker may still contain a large amount of oil. Recovering the vessel will “help us a lot in containing the spill,” said the Ministry’s undersecretary, Carlos Primo David.
Possible impacts of the oil spill
Over 1,460 acres of coral reefs and 4,000 acres of mangroves are at risk. Nearly 900 acres of seagrass may also be impacted by the oil spill.
"The possible contamination might actually affect the viability of these systems," said Maria Antonia Tulo Loyzaga, Environmental Secretary.
According to the Philippines disaster agency, the oil spill has already reached several coastal towns on the eastern side of Mindoro island. Advocacy Groups are calling the oil spill a “potential environmental disaster.”
This story was originally reported by Reuters.