There were 344 press releases posted in the last 24 hours and 391,586 in the last 365 days.

Tolentino questions seaworthiness of sunken oil tanker in Mindoro, urges authorities to hasten distribution of oil spill compensation

PHILIPPINES, March 14 - Press Release
March 14, 2023

Tolentino questions seaworthiness of sunken oil tanker in Mindoro, urges authorities to hasten distribution of oil spill compensation

MANILA - Senator Francis 'TOL' N. Tolentino has questioned the seaworthiness of the M/T Princess Empress which sank off the coast of Naujan, Mindoro last month.

"Gusto rin po natin malaman kung gaano katanda na po itong M/T Princess Empress, gaano katagal na po ito sa negosyo, kung ito po ay na-inspeksyon sa kanilang seaworthiness, at kailan po yung inspection."

Tolentino raised the query during Tuesday's inquiry of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, as the oil spill incident brought by the February 28 sea mishap continues to affect not only the livelihood of fisherfolk, but also the marine biodiversity and tourism as it heads towards the famous beaches of Coron in Palawan and in Boracay Island.

During the course of the investigation, representatives from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) bared to the Senate panel that RDC Reield Marine Services (RDC)—the owner of M/T Princess Empress—has yet to secure an amendment in connection with its certificate of public convenience (CPC) for the said ill-fated vessel, thus it should not be allowed to sail at the first place prior to the incident.

Tolentino who earlier spurred the Senate environment panel to demand an in-depth assessment over the vast damages brought by Mindoro oil spill incident following his privilege speech last week also urged authorities and the owner of M/T Princess Empress to hasten the distribution of compensation for those affected by the recent mishap.

In his opening statement, Tolentino suggested that authorities should utilize existing funds enshrined under Republic Act No. 9483 or the Oil Pollution Compensation Act since there is a specific provision there in which for every shipment of oil tanker, 10 centavos per liter is allotted specifically for compensation fund.

"Dahil po sa batas—nasa Section 1 po ng kanilang IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulation) sa Republic Act 9483—for every delivery ng oil tanker, mayroon pong 10 centavos per liter every delivery ang dapat po ay ibigay sa compensation fund. Ito pong funds pong ito ay ina-administer ng Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA)," said Tolentino.

According to Tolentino, MARINA should lay down the guidelines on how the said compensation fund provided under the law will be utilized as soon as possible to fast track its distribution to the affected residents and local government units (LGUs) not only in Mindoro Oriental but also in other stirred areas like in Coron, Palawan and in some provinces located in the Western Visayas region.

The senator stressed that it's now a race against time and authorities should not wait for the compensation and assistance coming from RDC Reield Marine Services (RDC), the owner of the ill-fated M/T Princess Empress—which is reportedly insured for USD 1 billion, although Tolentino also noted that the said company should clarify the status of its insurance claim since they are the one primary responsible for damaging the country's center of marine biodiversity.

Authorities at present continue to race against time in containing the 800,000-liter that spilled out from the oil tanker after it sank off the coast of Naujan, Mindoro Oriental last February 28.

"Aabutin po talaga ng mahabang panahon po ito kaya kailangan po matunton po dito kung sino po yung gagastos—kung pwede pong gamitin itong mangagaling sa Oil Pollution Compensation Act na nabanggit niyo kanina at ito po ay manggagaling po sa insurance ng M/T Princess Empress," he added.