PCG extraction team arrives at Tubbataha
MANILA, Philippines—A Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel was expected to arrive at Tubbataha Reef off Palawan Saturday afternoon to assess the damage and plan the extraction of the Chinese fishing boat Ming Long Yu which ran aground in the area last Monday.
According to PCG spokesperson Cmdr. Armand Balilo, the BRP Corregidor was expected to arrive at Tubbataha by 2 p.m.
The Corregidor is carrying the oil spill response team (OSRT) that is bringing with it marine pollution equipment composed of an oil spill boom and one drum of oil dispersant. It is also carrying Coast Guard medical personnel and Special Operations Group (SOG) members equipped with a rubber boat and diving gear.
Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista, PCG Palawan district commander, earlier said the weather at Tubbataha was favorable for salvage operations, which are expected to take a week.
Evangelista said one option would be to refloat the Ming Long Yu by siphoning off 80,000 liters of diesel fuel and lightening its load.
He said the vessel’s hull was intact and there was no sign of an oil spill.
Meanwhile, the 12 crew members of the Ming Long Yu were transferred from the Palawan Hall of Justice to the Palawan provincial jail in Puerto Princesa City.
Coast Guard District Palawan is monitoring the Chinese vessel. The PCG said two Coast Guard personnel at Tubbataha along with park rangers were providing security and conducting routine inspections in the area.
Evangelista, together with four park rangers, seven SOG and one Field Station personnel, three Coast Guard K9 handlers with two dogs and one representative from Malayan Towage arrived at Tubbataha Friday night on board the BRP Romblon to inspect the grounded vessel and the reef.