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Coast Guard says Verde Island Passage ‘no longer has traces’ of oil spill 

by Izel Abanilla

The famous Verde Island is now free from traces of oil that was leaked by sunken motor tanker Princess Empress in Naujan Oriental Mindoro, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said.

In a tweet, the coast guard announced that they did not see any signs of slick during an aerial inspection on Monday afternoon. The post included a video clip showing that the dive spot’s pristine waters are back.

“During the aerial inspection from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. the PCG confirmed that Verde Island and its vicinity waters no longer have traces of an oil spill,” the PCG tweeted on Monday. 

Verde Island is deemed as the center of the center of global marine biodiversity.

PCG Spokesperson Rear Admiral Armand Balilo said a clean up was immediately launched after oil slicks were monitored in the coastal barangays of San Antonio, San Agustin, and San Agapito. 

“They collected approximately 230 liters of oil during the shoreline clean-up operations today,” he said, adding that the clean up included waters within the vicinity of the famous dive spot.

Princess Empress sank on February 28 while carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel.

Captain Victorino Acosta, the PCG station commander in Batangas said in an interview on Super Radyo dzBB that booms were immediately placed within the provincial waters after the leak to mitigate possible contamination in case the spill extends beyond Mindoro.

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At present, authorities are still monitoring other coastal towns and famous tourist spots in Batangas such as  San Juan, Tingloy, Lobo, and Calatagan. 

As of writing, authorities have yet to impose bans on fishing and cargo transport via Roll on-Roll off service or Ro-Ro. 

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