Owner of spilled oil in Mindoro urged to take responsibility
Posted: 2023-Mar-15 08.51.22 UTC+0800
["https:\/\/radyonatin.com\/story.php\/46592","Owner of spilled oil in Mindoro urged to take responsibility","RNNationwide"]
MANILA – Representatives of both civil society and the legal community on Tuesday challenged the true owners of the oil carried by MT Princess Empress to finally come forward and take responsibility for their roles in the unfolding environmental disaster.
The tanker ran aground on Feb. 28 off the coast Naujan town, Oriental Mindoro province with some 800,000 liters of industrial fuel and eventually sank the following day.
In an interview, Greenpeace campaigner Jefferson Chua said the shipment's owner should shoulder the cost of cleaning up the oil spill and making restitution for the damage it caused, alongside the ship's owner, Reield Marine Services.
"They (the charterer) should reveal themselves now because the truth behind the oil spill is slowly coming to light," he said in Filipino.
Chua said those responsible for the oil spill should not only pay for the clean-up, but also for the damaged ecosystem as well as fisherfolk's lost livelihood.
The Greenpeace official quoted Department of Environment and Natural Resources figures indicating that some 30,000 to 50,000 liters of oil continue may leak daily from MT Princess Empress, which has sunk to a depth of about 400 meters.
Chua called this "very alarming" since the affected area is dotted with corals and mangrove, which sustain not only fishes but marine birds as well.
He said Amsterdam-headquartered Greenpeace will support a class suit against those liable for the oil spill should affected communities decide to launch one.
Meanwhile, lawyer and environmental advocate Ernesto Tabujara III said the charterer (cargo owner) and the ship owner share "joint and solidary liability" in paying for damage arising from the mishap.
He said that even if the ship's sinking was accidental, the responsible parties can still be held liable for gross negligence over the oil spill.
"The parties responsible are required to exercise extraordinary diligence in the transport of potentially hazardous products," he added.
Tabujara said the incident cannot simply be attributed to force majeure because the technology to avoid storms and strong waves already exists and is accessible to the maritime industry.
He urged non-government organizations to take an active role because most residents of affected fishing villages lack the resources to assert their rights. (PNA)