A tanker that sank off the coast of the Philippines with 800,000 litres of oil on board did not have a proper permit to sail, according to officials.

Miles of coral reefs were affected by an oil spill when the 1,100-dwt Princess Empress (built 2022) sank last month after being hit by mechanical problems and heavy weather.

A senate hearing heard that the ship had sailed without a permit on nine occasions, including the fateful voyage, the Philippine Star reported.