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The cargo ship capsized Tuesday near Mindoro Island while en route to Iloilo port from Bataan.
The Philippines declared on Friday a state of calamity in the town of Pola in Oriental Mindoro affected by an oil spill due to the sinking of the freighter MT Princess, carrying 800 000 liters of industrial fuel oil.
The freighter capsized on Tuesday while en route to Iloilo port from Bataan. The heavy swell lashing the coast of Romblon swept the MT Princess into the waters off Cape Balingawan, Mindoro Island.
The Mindoro Emergency Center warned that at least eight localities are severely affected by the spill. For its part, the Department of Environment said that 21 marine protected areas could be affected by the accident.
According to Jennifer Cruz, mayor of the Pola town, Oriental Mindoro province, "the seabed and the coast have turned black. You can see the spill in the waves. The fish are dying. Our white sand is now black sand."
Philippines Bans Fishing as Oil Spill Spreads - Reports
The slick, from a tanker which sank carrying 800k of industrial fuel on Tuesday, is 120km long and 9km offshore of Mindoro island, which is south of capital Manila. 1/ pic.twitter.com/siaF08PNAm
Fishermen have been prevented from fishing in the affected area while emergency crews, volunteers and troops work to contain the slicks floating in the sea and to collect the thick oil accumulating on the sandy beaches and among the rocks.
The Coast Guard is exploring the area of the sinking by boat and plane to find the exact location where the freighter sank.
The cargo ship is believed to be lying at a depth of 400 meters, making it difficult for the authorities to seal the oil and diesel leaks.
The 20 crew members aboard the MT Princess were rescued by another vessel. According to the Coast Guard, they are in good physical condition.