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MARINA Re-Inspects More Marine Vessels for Seaworthiness

Shortly after the sea mishap involving MV Super Shuttle Ferry 10 at Port Pulambato in Bogo, Cebu, The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) called for re-inspection of 25 vessels operated by Asian Marine Transport Group to ensure the carriers are still seaworthy. MARINA administrator ordered all vessels to stay in port while re-inspection and additional audit are being conducted by maritime safety specialists. Until then, these vessels will not be allowed to resume scheduled trips at sea.

On August 20, MV Super Shuttle Ferry 10 encountered engine trouble which caused the vessel to drift and run aground while moving away from the Pulambato wharf. All 63 passengers survived the incident and were safely taken back to the wharf. The vessel was about to sail to Palompon, Leyte when the accident transpired.

Although the situation was immediately declared under control, MARINA has suspended trips of MV Super Shuttle Ferry 10 indefinitely. It has also suspended the Passenger Ship Safety Certificate of the vessel along with Seafarer’s Identification and Record Book and Qualification Document Certification of the ship’s crew. The institution will further pursue a hearing pertaining to the incident on the sidelines of an investigation to be carried out by the Philippine Coast Guard’s Board of Marine Inquiry.

Same day with MV Super Shuttle Ferry 10 accident, a yacht on its way to Siquijor capsized off Barangay Pungtod in the town of Oslob. Three people from the vessel owned by Coco Grove Beach Resort were rescued by Bantay Dagat and local police. Initial investigation revealed that the yacht’s captain decided to sail in spite of bad weather and rough sea to fetch a foreign guest to be transported to Dumaguete City.

Prior to all this, MARINA has been confronted by the collision of passenger ferry M/V St. Thomas Aquinas and cargo ship MV Sulcon Express Seven. The maritime body immediately conducted an investigation on the incident and suspended all ships operated by 2Go Shipping Lines and Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. pending re-inspection.

Meanwhile, MARINA has lifted suspension order over some vessels cleared after re-inspection namely: M/V San Pedro Calungsod and M/V St. Anthony de Padua of 2GO and M/V Princess of the South, Princess of the Earth, and Span Asia-5 of PSACC.

While the MARINA has recently announced initial findings, the PCG is still working on its Board of Marine Inquiry to conduct an independent probe. According to initial investigation, M/V St. Thomas Aquinas diverged from the sea lane when the collision took place. Hence, 2Go’s passenger vessel is initially at fault in the incident, more so the captain, since human error has earlier been considered to be the possible cause of the collision after ruling out lapses on both ships’ structural integrity.

The Congress may also conduct its own probe on the sea collision after Senator Pimentel and a party-list representative initiated the inquiry. Investigations performed by the Congress, however, are only pursued “in aid of legislation.” This will help lawmakers enact laws to prevent the same incident from happening in the future.