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Philippines seek help over oil spill

MANILA – The Philippines have asked Japan and the United States for help as authorities struggle to contain and clean up an oil spill 10 days after a tanker sank.

The Princess Empress had 800,000 liters of industrial heating oil on board when it sank in rough seas off the central island of Mindoro south of Manila.

The ship is believed to be about 400 meters below the waves, but Philippine authorities said Friday the country was unable to reach the wreck and remove the oil.

Japan has dispatched Coast Guard personnel to Manila to assist in investigating the oil spill and “direct ongoing oil removal and inspection activities,” the Philippine Coast Guard said.

Manila has also asked the United States for help, Coast Guard spokesman Armando Balilo told AFP.

He did not elaborate on the type of help sought, and the US embassy did not immediately comment.

Diesel fuel and thick oil from the tanker have contaminated the waters and beaches of nine communities along the coast of Oriental Mindoro province, known for its rich marine life.

More than 2,500 hectares of coral reefs, mangroves and seaweed could be affected by the spill, the environment ministry said earlier.

It is not known how much diesel and oil got into the water.

The Philippine Coast Guard said it found oil as far north as Casian Island, off the north coast of western Palawan Island, about 350 km southwest of where the tanker sank.

Dozens of people have fallen ill in Oriental Mindoro after oil washed up on its shores, the provincial government said earlier this week.

Local residents and Coast Guard personnel have been clearing oil-coated seaweed and other debris from affected beaches.

An oil spill boom was set in on Wednesday after rough seas hampered earlier efforts to contain the oil slick

Thousands of fishermen have been ordered to stay ashore until they are safe to fish, and swimming is also banned.

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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