Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
And here we go again with officials of our Maritime Industry Authority issuing warnings and threats left and right to operators of sea-going vessels, and giving orders to its staff to inspect those also plying Philippine waters.
This was after another sea accident involving a roll on-roll off, or ro-ro vessel named Our Lady of Mount Carmel sank near the Burias Island in Masbate. Of the 70 passengers reportedly on board, seven were still missing up to late last night, with two confirmed dead from drowning.
The number of passengers is, however, still subject to verification because there were others believed to have come on board and had not been listed in the manifest. Unlike other sea mishaps that had occurred in the past, the ro-ro vessel was clearly not overloaded because it was supposed to have a capacity of 212 people. However, it was reported to have on board some vehicles, and if it is true, as one person had noted, that one of those vehicles must have gotten loose and slid to one side of the vessel, that must have caused it to list to one side, hence the sinking.
And now here we are, reading or hearing about MARINA officials ordering the inspection of the rest of the company’s sea-going vessels which are reported to be seven more, all named after Our Lady or some saints.
Haven’t we heard this before? After a sea accident, orders come out about inspections of the sea-worthiness of all sea-going vessels, of their documents, their compliance with regulations, and so forth and so on. Yet, after a few months or years with no tragic accident occurring, who remembers about such inspections? And our innocent, trusting passengers, trying to travel by the least expensive means, board them, confident that due care had been taken to assure their safety.
And so, we will hear of crackdowns on these vessels and stricter implementation of rules and regulations for a while, until the memory of the recent tragedy has faded away. Time to enforce them again when another tragedy strikes at sea.*