The Director, Mr Gaute Sivertsen, and Claims Manager, Ms Ana Cuesta, travelled to Singapore and the Philippines from 20 to 25 April 2023, to hold meetings in relation to the Princess Empress incident.
The IOPC Funds has continued to work closely with the insurer of the ship, the Shipowners’ Club, and, as reported previously, together they have established a joint claims submission office (CSO) and several local claims collection centres since the incident occurred. The Director and Ms Cuesta, took the opportunity to meet with representatives of the Club at its offices in Singapore. They also met with ITOPF who have been providing technical advice to the Philippine Government in relation to the response operations.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) organised various meetings and visits within the Philippines from 21 to 25 April. Mr Sivertsen and Ms Cuesta travelled with senior members of the PCG and the Department of Transport, to visit the area affected by the spill in Eastern Mindoro. They also met with the Governor of Eastern Mindoro.
They discussed the progress made so far regarding the handling of claims with key staff of the Claims Submission Office (CSO) and met with the ITOPF personnel working on site in Mindoro at the time.
During their stay, the Director and Ms Cuesta visited Caluya municipality, where they met with the mayor of Caluya and other local authorities and stakeholders. They went on to travel to Semirara island, one of the areas in that municipality most heavily affected by the spill, where they were introduced to some of the responders.
On the final day of the visit, the IOPC Funds met with representatives of the Department of Justice, of various Government departments and other stakeholders. Wherever relevant, the Director took the opportunity of the various meetings during the trip to explain in person the role of the IOPC Funds and to clarify the claims handling process.
Representatives of the PCG accompanied the Secretariat throughout their visit and the Director was very grateful to them for having made it possible to meet with as many stakeholders as possible and to visit the most affected sites within the short time frame available. The logistics involved included the provision of one of the PCG’s helicopters.
Mr Sivertsen and Ms Cuesta with representatives of the PCG, including CG VADM Robert N Patrimonio (2nd left), who played a key role in organising the IOPC Funds’ visit.
The most recent developments in this incident will be reported to the next session of the 1992 Fund Executive Committee from 23 to 25 May 2023 and are presented on the dedicated incident website: MT Princess Empress Incident Information Centre (princessempressinformationcentre.com)
Information for claimants can also be found under the incident section of the IOPC Funds website here.