Stop The Speculations, The Captain Is Dead … Now Let’s Move On

MV Princess of the Stars in it’s glory days

Immature speculations about the “missing” captain of the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars, which claimed 312 lives last July 2008, should stop now as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) investigations team finally identified one of the remains in the tragedy as his.

Florencio Marimon Jr., the ship master of one of the unlucky ships owned by Sulpicio Lines, was finally identified through the use of the DNA samples submitted by his relatives in Cebu City yesterday it matched one of the recovered cadavers.

An accident is an accident, as hard as it can be, I believe Marimon did not ask for the incident to happen. Somewhere along the lines something happened that only God knows what and why. The captain is also a victim of fate as all other victims in this tragic sinking of the MV Princess of the Stars.

A human error is a human error, no matter how we beat our heads, they are all dead. What we all can do is move on and learn from this mistake. Give rightful compensation to the family of the victims in this incident, make those who are liable pay for their wrong, right what went wrong and just move on!

I’m sure everyone is familiar of the cliche “history repeats itself” which I think it should be that “people repeat history.”

Two decades ago since the sinking of another Sulpicio Lines ship the MV Doña Paz, where 4,340 people drowned, between Mindoro and Marinduque after colliding with an oil tanker, considered as the world’s worst ferry disaster and the worst peace-time maritime disaster in history, it would seem that implementing safety standards at sea in the Philippines continues to be spotty and beset with problems.

Another of it’s vessel the MV Marilyn, capsized during a storm in central Philippines in October 1988, resulting in the death of about 500 people.

Ten years later, a storm-battered MV Princess of the Orient sank in Batangas waters and left 70 dead and 80 others missing. The ship was a replacement to the then largest vessel owned by Sulpicio Lines, the 191-meter long Filipina Princess, which continued to sail the lucrative Manila-Cebu route back in the early 1990s despite navigating only on one of two engines — a condition that prompted the Philippine Coast Guard to declare it unfit for travel in February 1993.

Another Sulpicio ship, MV Princess of the World caught fire at sea in July 2005, though there were no reported casualties.

With all these tragedies involving the same company, I wonder, has the responsible authorities remained vigilant not only to the company but in implementing stricter safety measures in the maritime industry, obviously they did not.

The Philippine Coast Guard admitted in their reports involving all sea accidents in the Philippine waters, is that one of the contributing factors in these major maritime disasters are the ill-trained seamen are in steering through major waterways.

They admitted knowing that our marine industry lack competent seamen, they know of the dilapidated state of many vessels, and the absence of minimal safety navigational aids are the main causes of tragedies in Philippine seas. The Coast Guard is the sole government agency that checks vessels for seaworthiness, they know all of these, but they turned a blind eye. What is Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) role I really don’t know.

Philippine Athmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAGASA) is responsible for monitoring the country’s tropical cyclone activities and issues warnings within its area of responsibility. Admittedly this government agency also lacks on the part of having the proper equipment needed in giving reliable, fast and efficient weather advisories.

Christmas is just around the corner, I know the families of the people who died in the tragedy that occurred at Sibuyan Island, Romblon will remain at loss and will definitely miss a loved one. Christmas will never ever be the same. They want justice to be served but also money is essential for the living to continue on living. A just compensation is what they need.

As to those responsible for this negligence pay up what is right. I hope your conscience bothers you day and night.

Let the living live as decent as possible, I am not for the complete revocation of Sulpicio’s franchise as those working in the company, 3,000 of them according to the TUCP will lose their jobs, which is also not right because they have families to feed, and they are still living.

The only positive outcome of this that I see is that proper authorities will do major changes in the Maritime safety measures and implement the new guidelines for maritime safety measure and that PAG-ASA will push through procurement of high-tech facilities which was long overdue to avoid repeat of the incident.

Lessons will be taught until it is learned. I hope authorities will not let another incident like this one to happen again in the near future.

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