FRANCE has financed a French expert’s visit to support the Philippines in its ongoing pollution-response efforts related to the sinking of MT Princess Empress.
Mikaël Laurent conducted a mission from March 16 to 29 on behalf of Cedre, or the Center for Documentation, Research and Experimentation on Accidental Water Pollution based in Brest, France. He was supported by maritime security advisor Emeric Faure, who works for the Maritime Industry Authority or Marina on behalf of the French government.
Laurent participated in planning meetings with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, local authorities, as well as private operators—including the French company Le Floch Depollution. He joined reconnaissance operations and observed coastal clean-up work areas as well as polluted sites, with a view to identify clean-up techniques adapted to the different substrates, and anticipate the parameters for the closure of affected locales.
The Frenchman advised on selective collection to limit the quantity of waste generated in clean-up operations. He was involved as an observer and technical advisor during response operations at sea, particularly during the deployment of oil containment booms and the recovery of pollutants.
Specifically, the field cooperation enabled a significant improvement in the speed of pumping pollutants onboard the tug Titan 1, which was accompanied by Ladagat. It was also followed by exchanges at institutional level, in particular with the PCG’s Marine Environment Protection Training Institute.
The 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. It was made possible by funding from the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement or AFD) and Expertise France, in the framework of technical cooperation on disaster-risk management.
The United States, Japan and South Korea have also extended similar technical assistance on the oil spill by fielding their set of experts.
Image credits: Embassy of France