Sunk Philippine oil tanker insured for $1bn, official says

Tanker owner urged to file claim for the oil spill to help affected communities

Sunk Philippine oil tanker insured for $1bn, official says


By Kenneth Araullo

A Philippine oil tanker, which sank off the coast of Naujan, Oriental Mindoro and caused a major oil spill in nearby areas, is insured for $1 billion, according to a government official.

The ship, named MT Princess Empress, capsized on Feb. 28 while carrying 800,000 litres of industrial oil. It sank the following day after experiencing engine trouble and was not found until Monday.

Covered for “every incident”

Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) spokesperson Sharon Aledo said in an interview that the ship is owned by RDC Reield Marine Services (RDC) and is covered by a $1 billion protection and indemnity insurance that has coverage for “every incident,” including an oil spill.

Aledo noted that the regulatory body met with the owners of the shipping company, who told MARINA that the Princess Empress was insured. She also affirmed that the RDC president is Reynaldo Cabial, and that the shipping company has a valid Certificate of Public Convenience for the sunk oil tanker.

She added that it was “incumbent” on the RDC to file an insurance claim following the oil spill. A report from the Philippine Coast Guard on Friday noted that eight drums of “oily waste” have already been collected from the site of the sinking near the coast of Sitio Sabang, Barangay Tinogboc, Caluya, Antique. The clean-up efforts were temporarily halted to ensure the health and safety of the Coast Guard’s response team.

In the aftermath of the incident, MARINA has suspended the shipping company’s safety certificate and has also issued a show cause order to explain what happened. Aledo urged the shipping company to attend to the affected coastal communities since that is part of their responsibility.

In response to this, a high-ranking official of the RDC shipping company participated in a closed-door meeting with government officials to assure that it would not evade responsibility. RDC vice president for administration and external affairs Fritzie Tee expressed “the company’s commitment to address the clean-up and containment of the oil spill.”

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