By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA – France has financed the visit of one of its experts to support the Philippines in the ongoing oil spill response after the tanker MT Princess Empress sank in Oriental Mindoro last month.
In a statement Thursday, the French Embassy in Manila said Mikaël Laurent of the France-based Cedre or Center for Documentation, Research and Experimentation on Accidental Water Pollution capped off his 14-day mission to the Philippines on March 29.
Laurent participated in planning meetings with the Philippine Coast Guard, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), local authorities, as well as private operators, including the French company Le Floch Depollution.
He also joined reconnaissance operations and observed coastal cleanup worksites, polluted sites to identify cleanup techniques adapted to the different substrates and anticipate the parameters for the closure of worksites.
Laurent also served as technical advisor during the deployment of oil containment booms and the recovery of pollutants.
He provided advice on selective collection to limit the quantity of waste generated during cleanup operations.
The French Embassy said the assistance enabled “significant improvement” in the speed of pumping pollutants on board the tug Titan 1, accompanied by the tug Ladagat.
“This mission is part of France’s long-term support for the protection of the environment and biodiversity in the Philippines, particularly in the maritime field,” the embassy said.
“It was made possible thanks to funding from the French Development Agency (AFD) and Expertise France, in the framework of technical cooperation on disaster risk management.”
The field cooperation was also followed by exchanges at an institutional level, in particular with the PCG’s Marine Environment Protection Training Institute.
France is an addition to Japan, the United States, and South Korea, which have extended technical expertise and equipment to help speed up Mindoro’s oil containment and cleanup operations. (PNA)