Harbor Star clinches oil spill clean-up contract

Harbor Star clinches oil spill clean-up contract
The Philippine Coast Guard's BRP Bagacay worked with MTug Titan-1 and MTug Lidagat on March 8, 2023 to conduct containment and recovery operations and oil dispersant application on the vicinity waters off Naujan, Oriental Mindoro following the Feb 28 sinking of oil tanker MT Princess Empress. Photo and text from the PCG Facebook page.
  • Harbor Star Shipping Services clinched the contract to clean up the shoreline and dispose of waste from the oil spill that followed the sinking of oil tanker MT Princess Empress off Oriental Mindoro
  • Additional work may be agreed subject to a written consent between the parties
  • The vessel is covered by a US$1-billion protection and indemnity insurance that includes coverage of an oil spill

Harbor Star Shipping Services Inc. (HSSSI) clinched the contract for shoreline cleanup and disposal of oily waste from the sinking of oil tanker MT Princess Empress off Oriental Mindoro.

In a regulatory disclosure, HSSSI said it secured on March 7 from RDC Reield Marine Services, owner of MT Princess Empress, the contract to deploy manpower and resources for the cleanup as directed and approved by the Philippine Coast Guard, the local government unit, and other concerned agencies.

Aside from HSSSI, RDC tapped Malayan Towage and Salvage Corp. for the oil spill cleanup.

HSSSI said additional work will be subject to a written agreement between the parties.

The oil tanker, loaded with 800,000 liters of industrial oil, sank on February 28 off the coast of Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, and began to spill its cargo afterwards.

The tanker was en route to Iloilo from SL Gas Harbor Terminal in Limay, Bataan, when its engine broke down due to overheating. The vessel then drifted towards waters off Balingawan Point due to rough seas until it sank.

The vessel is covered by protection and indemnity insurance that includes coverage against oil spills. The Maritime Industry Authority said the tanker is insured for US$1 billion.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Antonia Loyzaga said the rate of discharge of oil from the sunken vessel is estimated at 35,000 to 50,000 liters a day. According to sea and weather models from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Naujan and Pola in Oriental Mindoro would be the hardest-hit areas of the oil spill.

Loyzaga said Japan and South Korea have expressed their willingness to help contain the spill.

Oriental Mindoro’s Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed a resolution recently declaring a state of calamity in coastal barangays of towns affected by the oil spill.

The resolution said there are 77 coastal barangays in the affected towns of Naujan, Pola, Pinamalayan, Gloria, Bansud, Bongabong, Roxas, Mansalay and Bulalacao. Swimming and fishing along the affected areas have been banned.

The oil spill has reached Antique, Semirara Island, and the Cuyo Island group. There are also reports of residents from the affected areas getting sick due to the strong odor of the spilled oil.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said at least 21 protected marine areas containing coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves could be damaged if the spill is not contained.

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