Archive for the ‘M/V Princess of the Stars’ Category

Princess capsize blamed on captain’s error

August 7, 2008

BY GERARD NAVAL

A MEMBER of the Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI) yesterday said an error in judgment on the part of MV Princess of the Stars master Florencio Marimon was the root cause of the sea tragedy last June.

Capt. Demetrio Ferrer, BMI member and spokesman, said Marimon failed to make the correct decision with regards to the capability of the ferry to withstand big waves and strong rains brought about by typhoon “Frank.”

Marimon is among those feared dead.

Of the 800 on board the ill-fated ferry, only 124 casualties and 60 survivors have been accounted for.

“What vessel could sustain that kind of weather condition? Forty feet sea and about 150 wind force. The very root cause: there was an error of judgment as what we have said on the part of the master. That is the primary root cause and the others are supposed to be contributory factors of negligence and complacency,” he said.

Maritime experts Capt. Rodolfo Estampador of the Conference of Maritime Manning Agencies, and Capt. (ret.) Michael Cuanzon shared Ferrer’s view.

“As the captain, we are forced to calculate risk against elements of nature. We don’t rely so much on the Pagasa. It is the right of the master to decline voyage if there is an approaching typhoon,” said Cuanzon, adding that the MV Princess should have sought shelter in Puerto Galera.

The passenger/cargo vessel left the Port of Manila last June 20 under Signal No. 1. By the time Frank changed its course and Pagasa had issued storm signal warnings the following day, MV Princess had run smack into the typhoon.

BMI chairman Rear Adm. Ramon Liwag said they will submit their report to Coast Guard commandant Vice Adm. Wifredo Tamayo tomorrow.

Liwag said they are looking at Monday as when the report will be made public by the Department of Transportation and Communication.

He said the report will not make findings of criminal liability as the probe merely determined the facts. - With Genivi Factao(Malaya)

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My Take:

Now they’re using the classic “Dead Men Tells no Tales” tactic.

Pointing a possible dead man as the culprit and cleaning the shoes of the masters is one act pulled with a possible large amount of money involved.

Retrieval of toxic cargo from ferry starts Sept. 1

July 25, 2008

RETRIEVAL operations for the toxic cargo of chemicals and bunker fuel from the cargo hold of the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars will begin September 1.

This developed after Sulpicio Lines Inc., the owner and operator of the ill-fated passenger vessel, signed Thursday evening a $7.5-million contract with Titan Salvage to undertake the job.

Titan will retrieve the 10 metric tons of endosulfan pesticide and the more than 100,000 liters of bunker fuel from the ill-fated vessel.

Amit Wahi, the commercial manager of Titan, said that they would begin the mobilization of their equipment and personnel once Sulpicio makes a 50-percent payment.

Maritime Transport Undersecretary Ma. Elena Bautista said it would take the salvage firm 21 days to mobilize its personnel and equipment before it could start the retrieval operations, which can be completed within three weeks.

The contract signed by Sulpicio and Titan only covers the retrieval of the bunker fuel, hydrocarbon and endosulfan pesticides, of which the latter is owned by Del Monte Philippines Inc.

The salvage firm plans to bore a hole at the side of the capsized passenger vessel where the cargo of toxic chemicals and bunker fuel are reportedly located.

Sulpicio First Vice President Edwin Go said his company is negotiating with the Philippine Technical Divers to handle the retrieval of victims’ bodies that are still inside the capsized vessel.

For humanitarian reasons, Titan agreed they will retrieve the bodies that their divers would find during the retrieval operations for the chemicals and fuels.

Likewise, members of the Philippine Technical Divers will immediately retrieve the remaining bodies inside the ill-fated vessel once all the toxic cargoes have been removed.

Maritime authorities halted their search and retrieval operations after divers discovered that a 40 foot-long container van inside the vessel contained some 10 metric tons of endosulfan.
– Anthony Vargas(ManilaTimes)

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My Take:

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat??????????

Sept. 1 pa???????????????

Pulitika sa DA, FPA sinisi sa panganib ng endosulfan sa M/V Princess of the Stars

July 24, 2008

KR Guda

INUTIL ang DA (Department of Agriculture) at FPA (Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority) sa pagreregularisa ng transportasyon ng nakalalasong mga kemikal tulad ng endosulfan.

Ito ang pahayag ni Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, kaugnay ng pagpapalusot sa transportasyon ng endosulfan sa lumubog na pampasaherong barkong M/V Princess of the Stars.

Sinabi ni Mariano na masyadong nagluwag ang DA af FPA sa regulasyon ng nakalalasong mga kemikal, lalo na nang binuwag ng DA ang PTAC (Pesticide Technical Advisory Council) noong 2002.

“Lumalabas na may vested interest na lumalaro sa DA noong 2002,” sabi ni Mariano tungkol sa DA sa ilalim ni Sek. Luis Lorenzo noong taong iyon.

Naging maluwag umano si Lorenzo sa pagpapatupad ng importasyon, distribusyon, handling, transportasyon, pagtatago at paggamit ng ipinagbabawal na pestisidyo.

“Dati, kailangang mag-renew ng exemption bawat anim na buwan ang dalawang kompanyang nakabase sa US (Dole at Del Monte). Bakit magmula noong 2006, pinahaba na nang tatlong taon ang renewal ng exemption?” tanong ni Mariano.

Sinabi pa ni Mariano na nirekomenda pa ng PTAC sa FPA ang pagbawal sa endosulfan noon pang 1994. Pero pinayagan ng FPA ang exemption sa Dole at Del Monte.

Binigyang-diin din ni Mariano na bago natalaga sa DA, tagapangulo at chief executive officer si Lorenzo ng Lapanday Foods Corporation. Naging tagapangulo rin siya ng Del Monte Philippines mula 1997 hanggang 2002, at pangalawang tagapangulo ng Del Monte Pacific Ltd.

Kinuwestiyon pa ng militanteng kongresista ang pagmonitor ng DA sa paggamit ng endosulfan, lalo pa’t ginagamit ito hindi lamang ng dalawang kompanya kundi kahit ng mga subsidyaryo nitong Lapanday at Stanfilco.

“Sakop din ba ng exemption sa endosulfan ang mga subsidyaryo ng Del Monte at Dole?” tanong pa ni Mariano.

Binatikos rin ni Mariano si dating Sek. Arthur Yap ng DA na “tuluy-tuloy na tinanggihan noon ang rekomendasyon ng mga eksperto para i-ban ang endosulfan, at binalewala ang panawagan ng mga magsasaka para sa lupa at pagkain na walang lason.”

Nanawagan si Mariano sa Kamara at Senado na imbestigahan ang naturang isyu.

Ang endosulfan ay isang pestisidyo na napatunayan nang nagdudulot ng matinding panganib sa nervous system ng tao. Nakamamatay kahit ang kaunting exposure dito.(PWeekly)

BMI wraps up Sulpicio probe but keeps mum on findings

July 23, 2008

MANILA, Philippines—The Board of Marine Inquiry has determined what caused the MV Princess of the Stars to capsize and who would be held liable for the disaster, BMI chair Rear Adm. Ramon Liwag said Tuesday.

After listening to 28 witnesses in 13 hearings and losing two of its original members who resigned on charges of being biased, the BMI completed its report containing its findings and recommendations on Tuesday, Liwag said.

But Liwag refused to disclose the contents of the report, saying it would be submitted first to Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Vice Adm. Wilfredo Tamayo, who would review it and then pass it on to Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza.

“Definitely, we have findings there,” Liwag said when asked if the cause of the sinking was established. “That is what we were supposed to do,” he said in a phone interview.

Liwag said the BMI had found administrative lapses, but would not say who had committed the violations.

As for any criminal prosecution of those found responsible, he said it would be up to the other agencies if it wanted to use its report as the basis for any further action.

Sulpicio Lines earlier said the sinking of its ship was an “act of God” and presented before the board a veteran international ship captain who supported its stand and said no vessel similar to the Princess of the Stars would have survived Typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fengshen).

The company has also filed a P4.5-million lawsuit blaming the country’s weather bureau for its allegedly erroneous report that supposedly sent the ship right into the typhoon’s path. Leila B. Salaverria(PDI)

Sulpicio Lines employees fear loss of their jobs

July 22, 2008

By Jeannette Andrade, Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:27:00 07/22/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Some 2,000 rank and file employees of Sulpicio Lines Inc. on Monday said they could lose their jobs should there be further delays in the probe into the sinking of the MV Princess of the Stars and the inspection for seaworthiness of the firm’s other vessels.

Officials of the Sulpicio Lines Inc. Unlicensed Crew Union (SLIUCU) said 136 of their colleagues had been temporarily laid off as a result of the grounding of the company’s 13 passenger ships.

Speaking at a press conference at the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) office in Quezon City, SLIUCU president Genaro Tasan said: “While we mourn with the families of those who died and join government in seeking justice, we also beg for their understanding and consideration.”

Tasan appealed to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the Department of Transportation and Communications, and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to speed up the investigation and the process of lifting the grounding order on all passenger vessels of the shipping firm.

He said they also wanted the people responsible for the tragedy to answer for their misdeeds but stressed that the continued delay in the inspection of the passenger vessels as well as the probe could cost them their livelihood.

The SLIUCU is composed of office and machine shop workers, stevedores, seafarers, sanitation and maintenance personnel.

Joselito Peraria of the Philippine Seafarers Union-Associated Labor Union-TUCP said that apart from the union members, porters, vendors and dry dock workers were also suffering from the grounding of the shipping fleet.

Meanwhile, the congressional committees investigating the sinking of the Princess of the Stars are looking into the possibility that the real nature of Del Monte Philippines’ toxic cargo, endosulfan, had been “misdeclared” before it was loaded on the ill-fated vessel.

Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella, chair of the House committee on transportation, on Monday acknowledged the possibility, based primarily on the account of Sulpicio Lines, owner of the sunken vessel, during last week’s hearing.

“There was a misdeclaration in certain areas,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview.

Puentevella was going by Sulpicio’s position that it would have charged Del Monte more had it known that the cargo was hazardous.

In an interview after the hearing, Sulpicio lawyer Victoria Lim-Florido said Del Monte was asked to pay only around P50,000 to ship a 40-foot container van containing 400 25-kilo boxes of endosulfan.

She said the cost would have been roughly doubled if Sulpicio had known about the real nature of the Del Monte cargo.

“The procedures for loading and handling would have been different, including the permits,” she told reporters.(PDI)

Gov’t to build memorial to Sulpicio ship victims

July 19, 2008

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 07:47:00 07/18/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Grieving relatives of the dead and missing passengers as well as survivors of the capsized MV Princess of the Stars will get a memorial on Sibuyan Island near where the ferry capsized during a typhoon on June 21.

Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo, spokesperson of the Philippine Coast Guard, said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had directed the PCG to draft plans for the memorial—either a lighthouse or bouy markers—in memory of victims of the ferry disaster.

Balilo said the names of the victims would be inscribed on the memorial and their relatives would be invited at its unveiling to be held by the time the 23,400-ton vessel is salvaged, possibly in two months.

“This is for the families, to help them remember and cope,” he said.

He said the President’s instruction was relayed to Vice Adm. Wilfredo Tamayo, the PCG commandant.

If a lighthouse is built, Balilo said it would also serve fishermen and passing vessels and could even prevent another tragedy. “It symbolizes hope,” he said.

Of the ferry’s more than 860 passengers and crew, only 56 survived. Leila B. Salaverria

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My Take:

What good will this make? Ha?

Remind us about how corruption claimed the lives of hundreds of people?  Remind us about the snail-paced justice we have in this country?

I see another money-making scheme in this proposal.  And i see another form of childish approach in dealing with the matter at hand: the corruption at all level, the quality of our weather-forecasting office, and the way private entities treat us ordinary people – client if capable to pay, and trash if needed to be paid.

Hope this cursed project would never push through.

Ship, port workers rally to prevent loss of jobs

July 19, 2008

Jhunnex Napallacan
Philippine Daily Inquirer

CEBU CITY – At least 200 crewmen, port workers, port vendors and other port stakeholders staged Friday a protest rally outside the office of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) 7 to press for the lifting of a ban on Sulpicio Lines Inc. passenger vessels.

The workers, brandishing placards, said while they were saddened by the deaths of at least 800 passengers aboard MV Princess of the Stars, they, too, needed their current jobs, which are now threatened by the ban.

Jeremias Alegado, president of the United South Dockhandlers Inc. (USDI), said families of arrastre and stevedoring workers in the port of Cebu are suffering.

Alegado said Marina and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) should not wait for these people to die of hunger before acting.

Allowing the vessels to sail again would not absolve the company, Alegado said.

Genaro Tasan, president of the company’s rank-and-file employees union Sulpicio Lines Inc. and Solid Towage Employees Union, also said thousands of people depend on the shipping line’s operations.

Tasan said the grounding of Sulpicio vessels rendered jobless hundreds of workers in other cities like Iloilo, Dumaguete, Zamboanga, Cotabato, General Santos, Davao, Butuan, Ormoc, Tacloban, Ozamis, Iligan and Bacolod.

Tasan said some workers have stopped sending their children to school.

Alex Damole, president of the Sulpicio office workers union Sulpicio Lines Inc. Employees Union-office, echoed the call.

Sulpicio has laid off 136 crewmen. Damole said office workers could also be laid off.

Loreta Solon, a member of the Cebu Allied Pushcart Association, said their jobs at the port suffered as a result of the grounding of Sulpicio vessels. Solon said she no longer has money to buy rice to feed her family.

After minutes of shouting outside the Marina office, some leaders of the protesting workers were allowed to meet with Marina director Glenn Cabañez.

Cabañez told protesting workers their concerns would be relayed to Marina administrator Vicente Suazo Jr. and Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza.

The government grounded Sulpicio ships shortly after the MV Princess of the Stars capsized near Sibuyan Island in Romblon.

At least 800 passengers were believed dead. Many of their bodies have been turning up in other places.

The accident also ground fishing to a halt and deprived thousands of fishermen of their livelihood following rumors that fish near where the vessel sank could have been contaminated by rotting corpses and a deadly cargo of pesticides in the sunken vessel.

Divers reported seeing bodies still trapped inside the vessel and authorities just recently discovered the ship was carrying the deadly pesticide endosulfan.

The House of Representatives is investigating the sinking.

An attempt to stop the investigation of the Board of Marine Inquiry was recently junked by a court.(PDI)

‘Toxic cargo could start leaking any time’–experts

July 19, 2008

MANILA, Philippines–Toxic pesticides inside the hull of the sunken MV Princess of the Stars could start leaking any time, European Union experts warned Friday.

Their findings showed “no observable oil sheen or environmental pollution” so far but they warned this could soon change.

The United Nations and the EU sent a three-man team of toxicologists to assess possible environmental damage from the pesticide endosulfan, which was intended for pineapple plantations of Del Monte Philippines and can be lethal to humans.

Releasing the findings, Transportation Undersecretary Maria Elena Bautista, who concurrently heads Task Force MV Princess of the Stars, said “there is really no assurance that the packaging will hold after more than a month.”

The passenger ferry sank during a typhoon on June 21 off Sibuyan Island with over 800 aboard.

As divers began retrieving bodies from the vessel, it was revealed it was also carrying a cargo of the deadly pesticide endosulfan, threatening the rich fishing waters around the island.

The government also found that the ship carried smaller quantities of four other pesticides and an estimated 50,000 liters of fuel oil.

More testing

Of the passengers and crew, just 57 people survived the tragedy and hundreds of bodies remain trapped inside the ferry.

Government agencies will continue to conduct tests off the waters around the shipwreck and the currents passing through the area to make sure the waters are still safe.

As a precautionary measure, a 5-kilometer zone has been set up around the shipwreck where boats and fishing are not allowed, according to officials.

Contingency plan

EU salvage expert Rune Stefan Berglind warned that the government must have contingency plans in place in case the ship starts to break up or if another typhoon hits the area.

He said the government’s handling of the situation was “well done so far,” but stressed that a master plan must be ready to remove the toxins from the water.

The UN and EU are willing to dispatch more experts to the country to help in addressing the problem if needed, officials said.

Please sign the contract

Bautista said the owner of the sunken ferry, Sulpicio Lines, had selected a foreign company to salvage the ship and the removal of the chemicals will start on Aug. 4 and last for about 30 days.

But Sulpicio Lines has yet to sign the contract with US company Titan Salvage, she added.

Bautista said the original proposal to retrieve the endosulfan and fuel from the ferry would cost $8.9 million (P393 million) but this had been lowered to $7.5 million (P331 million).

She said the government agreed to help process the work permits of Titan’s personnel and facilitate the importation of equipment for the retrieval in exchange for a lower asking price.

Phase 2

“If they (Sulpicio and Titan) sign a contract today, the earliest they can start to retrieve the cargo is Aug. 4,” Bautista said, adding that the transport department would follow up with Sulpicio Lines on the contract later in the day.

She said it would take about 30 days to complete the operation to first remove 10 tons of toxic pesticide before the bodies of an estimated 500 people can be retrieved.

“The first order of the day is to get the chemicals out, and the quickest (way) is just to remove it from where it is,” Bautista said. “After we remove the chemicals, we will proceed to the second phase, which is the retrieval of the bodies inside the vessel.”

To prepare for the massive forensic work ahead, she said the government would set up six 6-meter refrigerated vans and two air-conditioned work areas donated by Norway.

The government had sent DNA samples from 206 unidentified bodies and 600 possible relatives to a laboratory in Sarajevo that was set up to identify people missing from the Balkan wars in the 1990s. She said the test results might be available by the end of July.

‘They can do more’

Bautista also criticized Sulpicio Lines for not doing enough to salvage the ferry and minimize the damage.

“They can do more,” she said but declined to elaborate.

The sinking of the ferry has become one of the country’s worst maritime disasters and is just the latest in a string of sea tragedies involving Sulpicio Lines vessels.(PDI)

From Barangay Reader: K.B. Lauriene, k_riz69@yahoo.com

July 17, 2008

Is there no advocate for the families, waiting in agony to find the fate of their loved ones?

It seems as if Sulpicio Lines is just stalling and stalling with one thing after the other. This is undeniably a gross imposition on the rights of the deceased and their families to allow that ship to just sit and stagnate in the water when it is full of human remains.

Our citizens, any citizens, are worth so much more than that and the family from the U.S., like many others, has been through an agonizing and frustrating ordeal with no end in sight. This is a hideous and disgusting way to treat human beings and in essence, their bodies are being held captive.

This situation desperately needs to be brought to the attention of any international law/humanitarian rights advocate and news entity who is willing to listen, and I am working hard to raise awareness as such. If that were a Carnival (i.e.) ship off of Bermuda or the U.S.S. Badger full of bodies in Lake Michigan, do you think there would be so much delay? Never!!! Regardless of the country of registry or parent company. This is an enormous travesty of justice to the victims and their families. Let alone the fact that there are citizens of other countries missing in the mess.

I do not understand why nobody is overriding the shipping company on this and taking over operations to make retrieving the remains in an ecologically safe manor THE immediate and top priority and play the blame game later. All the rights here seem to belong to Sulpicio, and they are not doing ANYTHING to remedy the situation at hand. Apparently nobody can touch the ship but the owner.

Meanwhile, the divers have been called off and they now want to re-float, which would take 3 months, or tow the ship, which would take about a month, to unload the cargo and the bodies. These decisions are all conveniently being left up to Sulpicio, who is doing NOTHING. Why they have ANY rights at this point is not clear, as the investigations have already found that two of the ballasts were empty.

It is also speculated that the cargo was not properly secured and may have contributed to the capsizing of the ship. Seems to me the right thing to do to begin retrieving the bodies would be for someone to step in and take over and bring in a ship builder-maybe the company that constructed this ship-to salvage the vessel by dismantling the exposed hull. Apparently they know where the cargo is located in the ship and as of yet it is not leaking, so they CAN get around it. With all the technology and engineering capabilities out there today, there is no excuse for this to be prolonged. Meanwhile, the ship remains upside down, submerged, physically in tact, and potentially full of hundreds of human remains, and any moron would know they are not going to magically become any more easily identifiable. I think what I find most shocking and appalling is that this situation gets worse and worse and the media attention in the rest of the world, just is not there. The rest of the world doesn’t seem to know or care that there is a boat full of bodies just sitting in the water. The only reason I am up to speed on the horrid details is that some of those lost are the family of someone that I care about very much. So I scan the local news outlets there all day long hoping to find some closure for them, along with the other hundreds of families, hoping to find news of a resolution.

However, instead of hope, I see gross negligence. The disgusting, horrendous, deplorable corporate and socially unacceptable conduct of a shipping company that basically sent 800 people to a watery grave and really doesn’t seem to notice. For now, all I can do is try to raise awareness in hopes that someone will step up to the plate and end this atrocity. Let these grieving families identify there loved ones so they can mourn them and find closure. The media is the best outlet to raise awareness. Each day the bodies are left on the boat is a day too late. I would give my vote to Sulpicio as “Worst Corporate Citizen Ever.”

46 bodies expected today; mobile facility still in transit, needs 3 days to set up

July 17, 2008

MORE bodies are set to arrive in Cebu today, raising the body count of the mv Princess of the Stars victims to 259.

Dr. Renato Bautista, chief of the Medico-Legal Division of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), said the additional 46 bodies that were recovered from the islands off Romblon will arrive today.

The bodies will be processed at the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes along Junquera St., Cebu City and not at the Cebu International Port (CIP), where the new forensic site would be set up.

Even if the mobile morgue arrives from Norway today, it can’t be used immediately as it would still take about two to three days to set it up.

The NBI has no update on where the mobile morgue is at present but Bautista said that it could still be in transit.

Apart from the 46 bodies, the forensics team is also expecting around 500 more bodies to reach Cebu after the Sulpicio Lines Inc. vessel is refloated in two to three months.

If the 500 bodies are still intact, Bautista said the disaster victim identification (DVI) team might need four more refrigerated container vans, aside from the six that are already at the CIP.

Space

Bautista said that since the bodies will be placed in coffins, they would take up too much space inside the refrigerated container vans.

But if what will be recovered from the vessel are only body parts, these will just be placed in body bags and there will be no more need for additional vans, he said.

“The bodies that are at Cosmopolitan right now will stay there and will not be transferred to the CIP,” added Bautista.

With CIP identified as the final DVI site, the Cebu City Government has set up mechanisms to address waste management and disposal concerns.

Officials initially plan-ned to install an underground septic tank at the CIP, where wastewater can be collected. But City Administrator Francisco Fernandez said the City would provide a suction truck instead.

He explained that it would not be possible to install an underground septic tank at the CIP since the cemented ground is too thick for drilling.

“We will have a suction truck at the site 24 hours, seven days a week… The concrete is more than 8 inches thick, it’s impossible to drill through,” said Fernandez.

Bautista said they agreed with the use of a suction truck and assured the public that it would be used in such a way that no wastewater would be spilled.

He added that wastewater would be properly treated before being disposed of by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and that all biodegradable wastes would either be buried or incinerated. (EPB)

Sulpicio fires 136 from 8 vessels

July 17, 2008

CEBU CITY — Sulpicio Lines Inc. laid off Wednesday 136 regular officers and crew members of at least eight passenger vessels.

The company said they were letting go of the workers because of heavy losses caused by the suspension of its operation by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).

Arroyo Watch: Sun.Star blog on President Arroyo

Manuel Espina, Sulpicio Lines lawyer, said management was forced to terminate the services of the officers and crew members because the company is losing millions of pesos daily since Marina suspended its operation last month.

Espina said the 136 officers and crew members were given their notice of termination Wednesday. The vessels they are serving are still not sailing.

He said the dismissed workers are sad because they lost their jobs at a time when prices of commodities are rapidly rising.

Espina said the company did not have an option because the vessels were still not operating and paying workers salaries will deplete the firm’s resources.

He said there is no legal obstacle in laying off the officers and crew because this was reported to the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).

As regular employees, Espina said the affected officers and crew were listed with Dole and the Social Security System (SSS).

“I think its for the government and Marina to consider lifting the order for the suspension of operation of Sulpicio Lines because it has already affected the workers,” he said.

Joy Lim, Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) spokesperson, said they were informed Sulpicio Lines will lay off 600 workers if Marina will not allow the vessels to sail again.

Lim said the 136 workers laid off Wednesday were just the initial batch. She said there will be more termination if the suspension on the company’s vessels will not be lifted.

Last June 25, ALU-TUCP National Chairman Democrito Mendoza wrote Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza and requested him to intervene, saying closing the company is not the solution to the problem.

Mendoza said he feared 2,000 officers and crew members will lose their jobs.

Mendoza said that while they join the country in mourning the death of hundreds of passengers and crew of mv Princes of the Stars, they are also concerned about the fate of those working for Sulpicio Lines.

“Plunging 2,000 families to poverty and economic insecurity is the last thing we need at this time,” Mendoza said in his letter to Mendoza.

Mendoza has not replied to that letter.

On the other hand, Marina Administrator Vicente Suazo Jr. reiterated his statement during a press conference last July 12 that the Marina Board has the final decision in lifting the suspension.

Suazo said he already submitted to the Marina Board a partial report of the audit conducted by a Manila team that he created shortly after the sinking of Princess of the Stars.

Suazo did not divulge contents of the report although Marina insiders said only minor defects were found in Sulpicio vessels that were audited.

Sources said that Suazo may be held liable for suspending the operation of Sulpicio Lines because under the rules governing Ship Safety Inspection System, minor defects are not grounds to suspend the operation of a vessel. (EOB of Sun.Star Cebu)

July 15, 2008

Philippine Daily Inquirer

LEGAZPI CITY—Seven bodies believed to be those of passengers of the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars were recovered on the shores of several coastal towns of Sorsogon province on Sunday, a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) official reported Monday.

Ensign Jeffrey Collado, PCG-Bicol operations assistant, said three of the bodies were found at Barangay Behia in Magallanes town at around 9 a.m. One of the bodies was headless, while another was that of a woman.

Three others were recovered in Barangay Macalaya in Castilla town. One was identified through documents in his wallet as Carlito Balunan, 26, of San Isidro, Leyte; another was a woman wearing a life jacket; and the third was a man wearing a bracelet.

At around 10 a.m., a decomposing headless body was found at Barangay Marinab in Bulan town and was later buried at the municipal cemetery.

The Princess of the Stars, owned by Sulpicio Lines Inc., capsized and sank off Sibuyan Island in Romblon province on June 21 when the ferry sailed into the path of Typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fengshen) with more than 800 passengers and crew.

Retrieval mission

The National Disaster Coordinating Council report said more than 50 passengers have been rescued. But the latest list of the Philippine Coast Guard contained only 32 confirmed survivors and over 100 bodies retrieved off Sibuyan Island and in nearby provinces.

On Saturday, a woman’s body was buried in Minalabac town in Camarines Sur province. The victim, about 25 years old, was found on Friday night wearing a blouse with spaghetti straps, according to Chief Insp. Benjamin España, Minalabac police chief. Her head was severed from the body.

Three more bodies—all in advanced states of decomposition—were recovered by the Navy from the shore of Pasacao town in Camarines Sur on Thursday afternoon, Ensign Elmer Sumunod, spokesperson of the Naval Forces Southern Luzon, said on Friday. The bodies were immediately buried.

Fish scare

Search and retrieval operations were launched on Friday after four more bodies were sighted floating at sea.

Vice President Noli de Castro visited Pasacao on Thursday to partake of “cocido” (boiled fish) and steamed fish with town officials to prove that fish caught in the sea were safe to eat.

De Castro distributed cash to villagers whose livelihood was affected by the fish scare.

Dennis B. del Socorro, regional director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, said that fish caught in the area was safe to eat “as long as they are fresh and well cleaned of entrails.” Ephraim Aguilar, Roy Gersalia and Publio M. Peyra III, Inquirer Southern Luzon

Sulpicio re-thinks re-floating of Princess

July 15, 2008

BY GERARD NAVAL

SULPICIO Lines Inc. yesterday urged a thorough study “of all angles” before re-floating the MV Princess of the Stars which capsized last month.

“We have to be sure. doubly sure about what we are going to do,” SLI spokesperson Victoria Florido said.

She reiterated that SLI is taking a pro-active stance on re-floating the vessel so as to retrieve harmful substances that could potentially harm the environment.

“Like what we said before, the finger-pointing and the blame could come later,” she said.

Task Force Princess of the Stars headed by Transportation under-secretary Elena Bautista broached the idea of re-floating the vessel as it was the fastest way to retrieve the cargo of endosulfan, a highly toxic pesticide.

Florido said the shipping firm is deep into negotiations on what can be done about the capsized vessel but “we are restricted as not all parties concerned are at the discussion table.”

The SLI late Monday, declared Titan Salvage as its official salvor for the sunken vessel.

Florido, in a text message to Bautista, related that SLI has tasked the United Kingdom-based firm to retrieve hydrocarbons and other toxic chemicals inside the ship.

She related that details of the salvage plan has yet to be ironed out and will be released as soon as possible after consultations among stakeholders, led by the DOTC, are completed.

Bautista, however, noted that the salvage operation should be no more than 60 days after the official contract signing.

Also, SLI will handle all the finances, she added.

Titan will be in charge of mobilization of vessels, equipment and personnel to be used in salvage operations.

According to Bautista, SLI had until yesterday to name its official salvor as she needs to report to President Arroyo in today’s Cabinet meeting.

Three experts from the World Health Organization and two personnel from the Department of Health will fly to Romblon today to join the inspection team that will analyze the waters around the capsized vessel to check for possible endosulfan contamination.

Bautista said the team will return to Manila Thursday to disclose its findings.

At least three more bodies believed to be from the capsized vessel were found in Sorsogon province.

Radio reports said fishermen chanced on the three bodies as they were about to set sail early Monday morning.

The fishermen said the bodies were “almost all bones.”

Radio dzRH reported that at least two more bodies were recovered in Camarines Sur over the weekend.(Malaya)

MV Scandalous

July 14, 2008

Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines- The list of accidents Sulpicio Lines has figured in makes for chilling reading. According to Lloyd’s of London, Sulpicio ships have been involved in 45 accidents since 1980, including seven sinkings. (The complete list can be downloaded as a file at http://www.inquirer.net/verbatim/table.pdf.)

The seventh, of course, was the sinking of MV Princess of the Stars last month, at the height of typhoon “Frank.” Lloyd’s, the world’s leading clearinghouse of maritime information, estimated the casualty toll of the latest accident at “150 dead and 700 missing.”

Each death, each missing person claim, was avoidable, if government authorities or the shipping line’s management itself had recognized the company’s safety record for what it was: a scandal, an outrage. We have raised this question before, we raise it again: If an airline had this kind of record, would it still be in business?

We do not need to dwell on the seven engine-trouble accidents involving three ships. (We cannot but note, however, that one stalled ship, the Filipina Princess, was “stranded for 3 days.”)

The record of fires breaking out on board is a little more worrying. Four of the six incidents happened in the last eight years; a fire struck the ill-fated Princess of the Orient several months before the ship capsized (in the middle of a storm); in 2003 a fire on the Iloilo Princess was so severe it caused the ship to roll over. No casualties were reported then, but the vessel was declared a total loss.

The record of Sulpicio ships running aground is even more disturbing. In 28 years, the firm has suffered 19 groundings, including four ships that sustained so much damage they were subsequently declared a total loss. At least two ships ran aground during typhoons. One ran aground and caught fire.

The record of collisions does not build confidence either. A Sulpicio Lines vessel has collided with another ship six times since 1992; a collision has occurred every two or three years.

It is the record of sunk ships, however, that proves that Sulpicio Lines does not deserve its franchise. In particular, the sinking of three ships in the middle of a typhoon—one every 10 years, quite literally—tells us that the shipping company has failed the basic test of common carriers. To assure the safety of its passengers.

We’ve said this before; we’ll say it again. After Doña Marilyn sank in 1988, while sailing in the middle of a typhoon (“Ruby”) and claiming 150 lives, and after Princess of the Orient sank in heavy seas in 1998 (during typhoon “Vicki”) and claiming 150 lives, why did Sulpicio allow its flagship Princess of the Stars to set sail in the middle of typhoon “Frank”?

Its safety record should have told Sulpicio to wait the storm out. (As we’ve noted, at least two other Sulpicio vessels were involved in an accident while sailing during a typhoon.) Its failure to do so can only mean that having the worst accident record among the country’s major shipping lines did not mean a thing to Sulpicio management. If they got away with murder before, what’s another storm, another sinking?

It is true that suspending Sulpicio’s franchise would cause some economic dislocation, but that is the price we have to pay, the price we should have paid many years and thousands of lives ago, to protect the public. That we seem to lack the political will to do so (as we wrote yesterday and we write again today) “all points to a culture that confuses one’s own interests with the public good.”

Sucking up to Sulpicio

July 14, 2008

Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The aggressiveness of Sulpicio Lines only goes to show that we do not have the rule of law, only the rule of lawyers. The shipping line has lashed out by filing suits and motions before the courts, to keep investigators at bay and tie up potential critics in litigation. Everyone knows the sports dictum that a good defense is a good offense, but this is ridiculous: Sulpicio is trying to dribble itself out of any accountability.

To God alone belongs the blame, Sulpicio says, and on its side it has, as proof positive of divine exculpation, the moral endorsement of one of God’s very own shepherds. Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos, filled with Christian concern for the poor little rich Go family, the owners of Sulpicio, hopped over to tug at President Macapagal-Arroyo’s skirt to give a little concession to keep the Gos from starving to death. It was, of course, no little concession that the bishop was interceding, with child-like innocence, to obtain. For what the President conceded, as a result of Pueblos’ pastoral concern, was for Sulpicio to be allowed to continue the mainstay of its operations: cargo shipping.

The Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Cebu added the weight of Mammon to the intercession of God’s shepherd, by endorsing Pueblos’ request. The businessmen didn’t specifically endorse Pueblos, of course (it would be too patently a commercial conspiracy to do so), but in essence, they endorsed the Butuan prelate’s logic by pleading financial hardship for themselves. If they were deprived of access to Sulpicio’s cargo holds, it would be catastrophic for themselves and thus for all Cebuanos. To borrow Louis XIV’s phrase, the province is ourselves.

The Butuan bishop appealing for presidential clemency, echoed by the commercial sector declaring humanity is secondary to their bottom line, all points to a culture that confuses one’s own interests with the public good. In this, public officials are no different from the bishop and the Gos’ commercial chums.

The Gos, after all, had already obtained the satisfaction of witnessing Cebu’s congressmen ganging up on government bureaucrats instead of zeroing in on the shipping firm. The Gos, after all, are among the movers and shakers in the island province, thus clergy, merchants and officialdom are merely protecting one of their own. The appeals made by clergy and business councils, combined with the alacrity with which Cebuano congressmen focused on national government agencies while forgetting to take to task a prominent commercial family from their province, show that the bottom line will trump social justice every time.

To borrow a line from Inquirer columnist Randy David, the reason all this can happen, of course, is that the public allows it, following the lead of our very own institutions. Officialdom has known all along that our weather bureau is understaffed, under-funded and ill-equipped; government officials know we have no real Coast Guard to speak of; and maritime insiders have long been grumbling about the head of Marina being a know-nothing do-nothing who owed his job to crony influence. And yet Congress is shocked–shocked!–at it all.

And the public? It had trusted its loved ones to a shipping line expected to have learned the lessons of its tragic past; and to authorities meant to keep commercial greed in check. And now that it wants to recover their dead and give them the benefit of Christian burial–and an answer, at least, as to how and why their loved ones died, Sulpicio responds by unleashing a storm of court cases and injunctions, and a list of bureaucratic requirements to tie up families with red tape for a generation to come. If Sulpicio must pay, it will only do so after it has maximized interest on its insurance payoffs.

The public, in the end, is all bark and no bite. No one, it seems, is prepared to deprive Sulpicio of income to pressure it into at least submitting to a thorough investigation and the kind of management shakeup that should be the minimum fallout from a tragedy of this scale.

UN, EU experts coming to inspect toxic cargo

July 12, 2008

Tarra Quismundo Margaux Ortiz
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Members of a team of chemical specialists sent by the United Nations and the European Union have started arriving to inspect the sunken MV Princess of the Stars, in which toxic cargo remains trapped.

A statement issued on Thursday by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said the team would make an assessment of the shipwreck, which is resting at an angle on the seabed off Sibuyan Island less than a kilometer from the nearest coast of San Fernando town in Romblon province, south of Manila.

“We must ensure that the human tragedy of this ferry collapse is not compounded by the leakage of these pesticides,” said Stavros Dimas, Commissioner for the EU’s Environment and Civil Protection.

“Europe is putting its solidarity with the Philippines into practice by providing its assistance. Our expertise has been highly valued in similar emergencies in recent years, and as ever, we will do all we can to assist the people of the Philippines,” he said.

The team is composed of a marine chemist, an eco-toxicologist and a civil protection expert, Unep said.

Pesticides

It said the team would “spend one week in the Philippines to help provide a clear overview of the situation, determine priority needs and identify any gaps in international aid being offered and/or provided.”

It added that the team would be given support by Philippine government agencies and other UN bodies such as the UN Development Program and the World Health Organization.

The retrieval of bodies trapped inside the ship that left Manila for Cebu City was called off after authorities found that a container van of the toxic pesticide endosulfan owned by fruit and juice producer Del Monte Philippines Inc. was in the cargo hold.

Several other chemicals shipped by Bayer CropScience were also found to have been part of the cargo.

A fishing ban remains in force in the province of Romblon, with continued fears that a leakage might contaminate the Sibuyan Sea and surrounding areas.

Divers on standby

Divers of the Philippine Coast Guard have just been ordered to return to the site and stand by for operations on the shipwreck.

Bayer technical consultant Tess Cayton on Friday assured the Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI) that its products were packaged in line with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s code of conduct on the distribution and safe use of pesticides.

Cayton said the products, which included Antracol WP70, Tamaron 600SL, Trap 70WP and Fuerza GR3, were highly biodegradable.

“The products easily disperse in the sea. They disintegrate biologically when hit by sunlight,” she said. “The volume of our products are also negligible vis-à-vis the volume of the ocean.”

Cayton also said Bayer’s forwarder had coordinated with Sulpicio Lines regarding the permits and the actual shipping.

“We were unaware that our products were on the ill-fated ship until our forwarder informed us,” she said.

Dangerous

Representatives of Ceva Philippines, Del Monte’s contractor in charge of processing the transshipment permit of the cargo of endosulfan, said they had informed Sulpicio Lines of the nature of the chemical.

“During the preparation of the domestic bill of lading, Ceva Philippines informed Sulpicio Lines that the cargo was dangerous and presented all documents, including the international bill of lading and the material safety sheet, that both clearly state endosulfan is toxic and a marine pollutant,” Ceva Philippines country manager Dante Macaisa told the BMI.

He added: “In line with international shipping standards, the 400 boxes of endosulfan were packed in a 40-foot container with proper codes and prominent markings, including skull and crossbones signs, on four sides, showing the toxic nature of the cargo.”

No acknowledgement receipt

Macaisa said Ceva had submitted 10 shipment documents to Sulpicio Lines.

But the shipping company’s lawyer, Victoria Lim-Florido, said there was no acknowledgment receipt to prove this.

Sulpicio Lines has filed a civil suit against Del Monte for alleged failure to declare the pesticide cargo as dangerous.

Headless female body found off Camarines Sur coast buried

July 12, 2008

Ephraim Aguilar Publio M. Peyra III
Southern Luzon Bureau

NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur — A headless female body believed to have come from the ill-fated M/V Princess of the Stars that sank near Sibuyan Island in Romblon was buried Saturday morning in Minalabac town, Camarines Sur.

The body of the girl, about 25 years old or younger, was wearing a spaghetti-strap blouse when she was found Friday evening, said Chief Inspector Benjamin España, Minalabac police chief.

He said the head of the girl was missing when recovered.

Three more bodies suspected to have come from the ill-fated ship were recovered by the Navy from the shoreline of Pasacao town in Camarines Sur Thursday afternoon, Ensign Elmer Sumunod, spokesperson of the Naval Forces Southern Luzon, said Friday morning.

Equipped with a rubber boat and cadaver bags, a patrol ship of the Philippine Navy sailed to Pasacao after the Bicol police gave a tip on the bodies.

Sumunod said the three bodies were immediately buried since they were in advanced states of decomposition.

Search and retrieval operations were also launched Friday following reports of four more bodies sighted floating at mid-sea.

It has been three weeks since the M/V Princess of the Stars owned by Sulpicio Lines Inc. capsized at the height of Typhoon “Frank.”

The ill-fated ship carried over 800 crew members and passengers.

After weeks of search and retrieval operations, more than 200 bodies have already been recovered but only a few have been identified by their families.

Aside from Romblon, dead bodies have also been recovered in some provinces in Southern Luzon, prompting “fish scares” in these areas.

On Thursday morning, Vice President Noli De Castro visited Pasacao town to partake of “cocido” (boiled fish) and steamed fish with town officials to prove that fish caught from the area were safe to eat.

De Castro distributed cash assistance to fisher folk whose livelihood was affected as people became afraid to eat fish after decomposing bodies were found floating in the coastal town’s waters since the shipwreck.

“Human flesh turns into protein once eaten by a fish,” said Pasacao Mayor Asuncion Villamante-Arseño.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) regional director Dennis Del Socorro advised that fish caught in Bicol waters were not contaminated, “as long as they are fresh and well cleaned of entrails.”

He explained that fishes which were not exposed to toxic chemicals were harmless and fit for consumption.

Ships’ 45 accidents listed

July 12, 2008

Lloyd’s details Sulpicio’s 28-year history

By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:39:00 07/13/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Sulpicio Lines Inc., owner of the MV Princess of the Stars that sank off Sibuyan Island in Romblon last month at the height of Typhoon “Frank (international code name: Fengshen),” has a disturbing history.

For the past 28 years, its ships have not only sunk but have also collided with other vessels, caught fire, stalled at sea for several days, and run aground.

The maritime information database www.lloydsmiu.com has recorded incidents involving Sulpicio Lines vessels from 1980 to 2008. The record includes the June 21 sinking of the Princess of the Stars–the seventh sinking incident to involve the shipping company.

In all, Sulpicio Lines has had 45 sea accidents since 1980.
Of the Sulpicio Lines vessels, six have collided with other ships, six have caught fire, seven have had engine problems and stalled at sea, and 19 have run aground.

The deadliest incident was the 1987 sinking of the MV Doña Paz after it collided with the MT Vector. As many as 4,300 people are believed to have died in the worst peacetime disaster in history.

Although the Doña Paz was involved in a collision, the incident was classified as a sinking in the data provided by Lloyd’s MIU.

The next deadliest incidents were the sinking of the Doña Marilyn in October 1988 and the Princess of the Orient in September 1998 (with 150 fatalities each), and the Princess of the Stars last month.

At present, only 57 of the 864 people on board the Princess of the Stars have been found alive. Hundreds of bodies are believed trapped inside the ill-fated ship that left Manila for Cebu City.

Reached on the phone, Sulpicio Lines lawyer Arthur Lim said he had no comment.

No casualties

Another sinking incident involved the Sulpicio Container I (1980), with no casualties.

There were also no casualties reported in the six collisions involving Sulpicio Lines vessels–the Palawan Princess, which collided with the MV Wilcon VI at the Manila North Harbor (1992); the Filipina Princess, with a Uni-Modest vessel at the entrance of the Manila North Harbor (1993); the Iloilo Princess, with the MV Solid Pearl near the Manila North Harbor (1997); the Sulpicio Container V, with the MV Asia Malaysia at Fort San Pedro, Iloilo (2000); the Princess of Paradise, with the MV LSC Cagayan de Oro off Cebu (2003); and the Sulpicio Express Dos, with the tank barge Golden Arowana 3 off Corregidor (2005).

The six Sulpicio Lines vessels reported to have caught fire were the Philippine Princess (1989); the Princess of the Orient, then refueling at the Manila North Harbor (1997); the Dipolog Princess, then undergoing repair at Pier 7 in Cebu (2000); the Tacloban Princess, then docked in Ormoc, and where two people died (2002); the Iloilo Princess, then docked at Pier 4 in Cebu (2003); and the Princess of the World, then at sea off Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte (2005).

The seven incidents of vessels being stalled at sea involved the Filipina Princess, whose engine broke down twice (in November 1992 and March 1996); the Cotabato Princess, whose engine also broke down twice (July 2002 and March 2004); and the Princess of the Ocean, whose engine encountered problems three times (October 2002, March 2004 and June 2007).

The Sulpicio Lines vessels that ran aground were the Doña Paulina (1980); Don Victoriano I (1982); Sulpicio Container X (1986); Philippine Princess (1990 and 1997); Palawan Princess (1990 and 1995); Cagayan Princess (1990); Surigao Princess (1996); Princess of the Caribbean (1998); Tacloban Princess (1999); Cotabato Princess (2001); Dipolog Princess (2003 and 2007); Cebu Princess (2003); Princess of Paradise (2003); Princess of the Pacific (2004); Filipina Princess (2006); and the Princess of the Universe (2006).

‘Correct but incomplete’

According to data earlier provided by Philippine Coast Guard sources, Lloyd’s MIU has recorded 33 maritime incidents involving the vessels of Sulpicio Lines from 1980 to 2008. A source said the information came from maritime industry insiders.

When validated by Inquirer Research, Lloyd’s MIU investigations/research manager Arne Hanssen said the data were “correct, but incomplete.”

With Hanssen’s comments, the total number of maritime accidents involving Sulpicio Lines ships rose from 33 to 45.

Lloyd’s MIU said that:

The sinking of the MV Doña Paz in December 1987 led to the loss of “more than 2,000 people.”

The Princess of the Stars “sank off Sibuyan Island after grounding, following engine trouble, [leaving] 150 dead and 700 missing.”

The other ships that sank were the MV Carmen in 1987 and the Boholana Princess in December 1990.

300-year history

According to its website, Lloyd’s MIU has “a 300-year-old history in providing information to the maritime world.”

It provides data on vessel movement, ownership, characteristics and casualties, as well as port information and in-depth company information.

Lloyd’s MIU data are published online, and in books and magazines. The data are compiled from various sources, including Lloyd’s Agency Network of 700 agents and sub-agents, leading registries and classification societies and major company registries all over the world.

Its principal offices are located in the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore. It employs its roster of analysts and researchers in Athens, Barcelona, Mumbai and Vancouver.

With a report from Kate Pedroso, Inquirer Research

Suspected dengue, typhoid outbreaks down 440 in Romblon

July 11, 2008

Veronica Uy
INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — A suspected case of typhoid and dengue outbreak in Romblon province downed about 440, mostly school children, Councilor Benjie Mayor said Thursday.

Seeking the help of the national government, he said his town needs doctors and medicines to cope with the situation.

In a text message, he said half of Romblon East Central School’s 700 students were feverish, while 10 similarly sick students from Romblon West Central School were not attending class.

“Sixty-nine are confined at the Romblon District Hospital due to a typhoid outbreak. ‘Di kasama sa bilang ‘yong nagpa-check sa rural health centers (Not included in the count are those who went to rural health centers for checkup),” he said.

“’Yong iba pinauwi muna. Kulang sa doktor at gamot (The others have been sent home due to lack of doctors and medicine),” he added.

Romblon was where the MV Princess of the Stars sank with over 800 passengers and crew on board on June 21. Only 87 have been found alive.

The ship was found to be carrying 10 tons of the toxin endosulfan, and has prompted authorities to ban the eating of fish off Romblon, depriving its residents of a major source of livelihood.

Only 8 of 206 bodies identified weeks after ferry sinking

July 11, 2008

Tina Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — Only eight of the 206 bodies recovered from the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars have so far been identified, according to the National Bureau of Investigation.

Lawyer Allan Contado, bureau spokesperson, said the identified bodies have been released to their families.

Of the 206 bodies brought to Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes in Cebu City, 186 have already been processed, he said, citing a report sent by the NBI medical experts in the area.

“Only 20 have yet to be processed, but we expect more bodies once the ship is refloated,” Contado added.

The NBI has also taken DNA samples of at least 686 relatives of the victims for processing.

“The DNA processing would be conducted in Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and would take weeks,” he said.

Earlier, the bureau stopped the public viewing of the mostly unrecognizable corpses, saying these could only be identified through DNA testing.

Dr. Renato Bautista, officer in charge of the NBI medico-legal division who heads a group of forensic experts in Cebu City, said in an earlier interview that the order to stop public viewing was also prompted by complaints from business establishment owners in the area where the bodies were being examined for identification.

“Business in the area has been affected because of the very foul odor coming from the cadavers. That’s why business establishments, particularly the restaurants, were complaining because people have been avoiding the place,” Bautista said.

“And the city health officers were asking us how we could control the foul smell, so we’ve decided to seal the cadavers and stop the public viewing,” he added.

And besides, Bautista stressed, the bloated and decomposing bodies made it hard for the relatives to properly recognize them.

“[The cadavers] were already in the advanced stage of decomposition. It would already be impossible for the bodies to be identified [through viewing],” he explained.

The NBI official said their only chance to identify the bodies now would be through DNA testing, dental record and fingerprint analysis.

Court junks Sulpicio suit to stop hearing

July 11, 2008

Allison Lopez Jerome Aning Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The Manila Regional Trial Court Thursday dismissed for lack of merit a petition by Sulpicio Lines Inc. to stop the Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI) from investigating the sinking of the MV Princess of the Stars.

In a three-page decision, Judge Antonio Eugenio Jr. of Manila RTC Branch 24 said the power and duty of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) revealed “no inconsistency” with the BMI’s prerogative to investigate maritime incidents.

Sulpicio Lines earlier claimed that MARINA had the sole authority to look into maritime accidents and that the BMI members were biased.

In junking Sulpicio’s petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO), the court cited the 2005 memorandum of agreement (MOA) in which MARINA and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) recognized the BMI’s authority to investigate marine casualties or incidents.

MARINA, said the judge, “clearly abdicated” its supposedly exclusive jurisdiction in the MOA.

No need for TRO

On the apparent bias of certain BMI members, the court said there was no need to resort to a TRO as the complainants could seek the inhibition of those they believed to be partial.

BMI vice chair Rear Adm. Benjamin Mata and BMI member Capt. Amado Romillo resigned from the board on Tuesday to preserve the integrity of the investigation.

Judge Eugenio, however, warned the BMI and MARINA “to get their act together” as both agencies under the Department of Transportation and Communications were undertaking separate probes of the same maritime incident.

Eugenio said there was a danger that the two agencies could arrive at “conflicting findings, which would only embarrass the department.”

The court said it would continue hearings on Sulpicio Lines’ prohibition/injunction case against BMI on July 14-17.

To confuse issues

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Thursday said Sulpicio Lines was attempting to evade responsibility for the sinking of its ferry by filing criminal charges against the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and Del Monte Philippines Inc.

“These are all squid tactics in order to muddle the case,” Gonzalez told reporters. “The more you confuse everybody on issues, the more you can find a presumptive defense for your liability.”

Gonzalez urged Sulpicio Lines to acknowledge its responsibility in the tragedy, which killed more than 800 people and threatens ecological and economic damage on Sibuyan Island.

Sulpicio Lines earlier filed a P4.45-million civil suit against PAGASA for allegedly failing to inform the crew of the ferry about the approaching Typhoon “Frank” (international code name: Fengshen)—a charge the state weather bureau denied.

The company also filed a case against Del Monte for allegedly not telling Sulpicio Lines that the multinational fruit company’s pesticide cargo loaded on the ship was toxic.

During Thursday’s hearing at the BMI, Del Monte general manager Luis Alejandro disputed the shipping line’s claim.

He said that based on the information sent by shipper Makhteshim Chemical Works Ltd., all four sides of the 40-foot container van housing the endosulfan were plastered with stickers showing that the contents were toxic, including a picture of a skull and cross-bones and the words “marine pollutant.”

Alejandro said that the endosulfan shipment was wrapped in several layers of hard plastic and fiberboard and that documents, including the bill of lading and the material safety data sheet, showed the nature of endosulfan.

Bayer CropScience (Philippines) Thursday denied in a statement that it was the manufacturer of the endosulfan carried by the ferry.

Mountainous waves

Susan Lisbo, 43, one of 28 people aboard a life raft that was miraculously swept to the coast of Quezon province, also testified during Thursday’s BMI hearing. She repeated her earlier account to reporters on how she survived the tragedy.

Lisbo said waves lashing the vessel woke her up at 3 a.m. but at around 8:30 a.m. the sea calmed down and the sun came out. The sea became turbulent again half an hour later and at 10:30 a.m. she thought that the vessel was in danger in the midst of mountainous waves.

“I noticed that when the boat swayed, it did not return to position. It was a bit tilted already,” she said. Even before the abandon ship alarm was sounded, she donned a life jacket and headed for the exits.

Divers to start search for missing fishermen

July 11, 2008

Carla Gomez
Philippine Daily Inquirer

BACOLOD CITY – Divers from the Philippine Coast Guard will begin today their search and retrieval operations for over 80 missing fishermen from Cadiz City, Negros Occidental believed to be trapped in fishing vessels that sank off Olotaya Island in Capiz at the height of Typhoon “Frank.”

At least 30 fishing vessels from Cadiz City sank at the height of the typhoon on June 21 in areas around Olotaya Island, an islet near Roxas City, the capital of Capiz province, on Panay Island.

As of Wednesday, the bodies of 48 fishermen on board the Cadiz fishing vessels had been retrieved but 82 were still missing, said Cadiz City Vice Mayor Samson Mirhan.

Coast Guard Lt. Commander Edgar Ybañez said the latest recovered body was that of Alberto Savillaga. It was retrieved from FB Laura Rovi that sank in waters near Carles, Iloilo, said Ybañez.

More bodies of the missing fishermen might still be trapped in the submerged fishing vessels, he said.

“We are asking the survivors to pinpoint where their vessels sank so we can send divers to search for their companions,” Ybañez said.

Mirhan said the Philippine National Red Cross and the National Bureau of Investigation have been gathering more pieces of information from the relatives of the missing to be used in the identification of the bodies, should these be found.

NBI has also been gathering DNA samples from the relatives of the missing in Cadiz City.

Class suit planned over endosulfan use

July 11, 2008

July 11, 2008 02:26:00
Carla Gomez
Philippine Daily Inquirer

BACOLOD CITY – The Negros Organic Agriculture Movement (NOAM) is preparing to file a class suit against the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority to compel the Department of Agriculture agency to stop allowing the use of the deadly endosulfan pesticide in farms across the country.

The continued use of endosulfan in farms is “tantamount to genocide,” according to NOAM secretariat head Renato Bañas, because the pesticide “does not only kill the natural organisms in the soil but also those who consume the products to which the toxic chemical has been applied to.”

The class suit will be filed by NOAM and its allied groups from Iloilo, Cebu, Bukidnon and Manila anytime soon at the regional trial court here, Bañas said in press conference here Wednesday.

Joel Alapar, a member of NOAM, said they decided to sue the FPA because “the life of every Negrense is undermined and threatened by the continued proliferation of poison-laced food products because the Department of Agriculture continues to allow the use of toxin-based agricultural inputs.”

Alapar said it was lamentable that it took a sea tragedy for the public to become aware of the use of endosulfan by big farms in the country.

Painful lesson

Alapar was referring to the possible pollution of the Sibuyan Sea after it was discovered that barrels of endosulfan, a toxic pesticide intended for the Del Monte pineapple plantation in Bukidnon, were in the cargo hold of the MV Princess of the Stars that capsized off Sibuyan Island in Romblon on June 21.

Albert Lozada, another NOAM member, noted that while agricultural officials in the Philippines still allow the use of endosulfan in farms, communities around the world are fighting to eliminate endosulfan because it is a highly toxic and persistent pesticide that continues to threaten the health and well being of children, farm workers and people in rural areas.

Breast milk

Endosulfan primarily attacks the nervous system, he said. It is also a suspected endocrine disruptor and causes low dose exposure while in the womb and has been linked to autism and birth defects, he added.

Lozada said studies have shown that endosulfan has even been detected in breast milk, and could contaminate waterways near fields where it is applied to crops.

The NOAM officials called on the DA, particularly the FPA, to immediately ban endosulfan especially from food production.

They said the Department of Trade and Industry should also require appropriate disclosure of toxin or use of toxin in the production process that may contaminate products made available in the market.

The Department of Health, through the Food and Drug Administration, should also undertake periodic evaluation of food products sold in the market for any trace of toxin or use of toxin in the production process that may contaminate the product made available in the market, the NOAM members added.

Congress should also undertake an investigation into the continued use of endosulfan and similar other pesticides that have been banned in other countries for the danger they pose to people’s health and the natural environment, they said.

House probe

Negros Occidental 5th district Rep. Ignacio Arroyo, who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, assured the matter will be investigated in the House.

Negros Occidental provincial board member Adolfo Mangao Sr. said he would also file a resolution at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) seeking to ban endosulfan in Negros Occidental and to call on SPs in other provinces to adopt and support the move.

“The collective voice of provincial boards throughout the country would have a bigger impact,” Mangao said.

Romblon fishermen set fluvial protest vs Sulpicio

July 10, 2008

Niña Catherine Calleja
Southern Luzon Bureau

SAN FERNANDO, Sibuyan Island — Fishermen here are organizing a fluvial protest for Thursday in Sibuyan waters to press for the immediate removal of the sunken vessel of Sulpicio Lines Inc. from their fishing ground.

Delbert Ruiz, a town resident, said around 20 fishing boats with 200 fishermen would sail to let Sulpicio owners know that they were angry and exhausted.

Since the Department of Health (DoH) has declared a ban on the harvest and sale of fish in this town due to possible contamination of sea waters by the pesticide endosulfan still inside the sunken ship, fishermen have been grappling with the loss of their sole livelihood.

Mayor Nanette Tansingco issued the fishermen a permit to rally Wednesday.(PDI)

African groups push for endosulfan ban in Philippines

July 10, 2008

TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — Civil society groups meeting in Durban, South Africa, for a conference on waste backed calls for the Philippines to ban endosulfan, the EcoWaste Coalition said on Wednesday.

The groups drafted an open letter pushing for the adoption of agro-ecological and equitable practices that would cut farm dependence on toxic chemical inputs, EcoWaste national coordinator Manny Calonzo said in a statement.

The groups from eight African countries have been meeting in Durban to discuss waste, incineration and toxic chemical issues, he said.

Quoting from the letter, Calonzo said the groups expressed dismay over the discovery of a 10-metric ton shipment of endosulfan in the M/V Princess of the Stars, which sank off Sibuyan island on June 21 at the height of a typhoon.

The discovery of the toxic cargo halted the search and retrieval operations for the dead and missing passengers, and prompted the government to suspend fishing in waters around the island.

“Coming from countries that are still struggling with the toxic legacy of obsolete pesticides in our communities, we could not help but seriously question why endosulfan, a neuro-toxic organochlorine pesticide, was allowed to be used in the Philippines and even shipped through a vessel carrying humans,” Dr. Paul Saoke of the Physicians for Social Responsibility-Kenya, said in the statement e-mailed by EcoWaste.

Calonzo said that Hemsing Hurrynag, a member of the Global Alliance of Incinerator Alternatives steering committee, asked the Philippine government to ban endosulfan “without exemption.”

The discovery of the shipment has brought to light the continued use of endosulfan pesticide in fruit plantations in the country.

Sulpicio Lines Inc., owner of the ill-fated ferry, has sued Del Monte Philippines for shipping the cargo without disclosing its toxic nature.

“Our policy makers and regulators, we hope, will heed this latest appeal for a total ban on endosulfan to prevent local and global damage to health and our fragile ecosystems,” Calonzo said.

Joey Papa, president of Bangon Kalikasan (Rise Nature) Movement, pressed the government to ban all toxic chemical inputs to agriculture, including endosulfan.

“It should ban the use of all toxic chemical inputs to agriculture. If endosulfan is not allowed for paddy rice culture, why allow it for pineapple plantations? The precautionary principle must prevail above business considerations,” Papa said in a statement.

Since endosulfan is highly toxic to humans, wildlife and the environment, 55 countries have banned the chemicals while others have restricted its use, according to Calonzo.

Responding to the Sulpicio suit, Del Monte Philippines said on Wednesday that warning signs signifying that the endosulfan shipment consisted of toxic substances were all over the container van as well as the documents submitted to ferry owner.

Del Monte general manager Cito Alejandro said the company had not misdeclared the cargo. He said Del Monte would counter charges against Sulpicio Lines for its allegations against the food manufacturer.(PDI)

Serbisyo Publiko: Panawagan sa mga Nakakita sa Nawawalang Kaanak na Sakay ng M/V Princess of the Stars

July 9, 2008

Ang sulat sa ibaba ay idinikit ni Roland sa “comments section” ng Barangay.  Dahil sa kakagyatan at buhay na maaaring nakataya, ipinasya kong idikit dito ang naturang paabot ni Roland.

Naway makatulong ito para mas mabilis na matagpuan ang kapamilyang kanyang hinahanap.  Nasa liham na rin ang mga numero nilang maaari nating kontakin, ganundin ang kanyang email address.

Taos-puso rin kaming nakikiramay sa mga pamilya ng mga naging biktima ng kalunus-lunos na trahedyang ito.  At isa kami sa nagngangalit ang mga bagang sa reyalidad na hindi lahat ng pamilya ng biktima ang nabibigyan ng sapat na atensyon ng mga tanggapang siya rin namang naging dahilan ng naturang trahedya.

==============

Jul 9, 2008

Magandang Araw Po,

Dalawa po sa biktima ng trahedya ng lumubog na barkong MV Princess ay ang aking hipag at kanyang asawa na hanggang ngayon ( July 9) ay patuloy pa rin naming hinahanap. Wala pa po kaming natatanggap na suporta sa kahit anung ahensya, lalo na sa mga hayup na kumpanyang Sulpicio Lines. Hanggat hindi namin naa-identify ang kanilang katawan, patuloy kaming umaasa na mas malamang na sila ay nakaligtas pa. Kami-kami lang po ang nagtutulungan, kumikilos at patuloy na nagdarasal na baka sakaling makita pa namin sila ng buhay.

Humihingi po kami sa inyo ng konting tulong sa papamagitan ng pagkalat ng impormasyon ukol sa kanila, ito ang kanilang pangalan:

GLORIA (Jeng) Clemente RABE (45 Y/O)
RENATO (Rene) Lucero RABE (47 Y/O)

HOME ADDRESS: Blk 58, Lot 54, Phase 5, Ilang-ilang Rockavilla II, Tabang Plaridel, Bulacan

THEIRWorkplace: HOTEL SOFITEL PHIL. PLAZA
(formerly WESTIN PHIL. PLAZA)
Roxas Blvd, Pasay City M.M.

KUNG MAY NAKAKITA O MERON MAN PONG NAKAKAALAM SA KANILANG KINAROROONAN o Nakakuha ng kanilang katawan, mangyaring ipagbigay alam lang po sa mga numero:

cel # 09062332157 c/o Dolly Reyes
09064901805 c/o Roland Reyes

Maraming..marami pong salamat sa inyong tulong.
God Bless

(Pakipasa lang po ang e-mail na ito. salamat po)

znar_seyer@yahoo.com

<script src=”http://feeds.feedburner.com/~s/BarangayRp?i=POST-URL-HERE&#8221; type=”text/javascript” charset=”utf-8″></script>

Food conglomerate to file counter charges vs Sulpicio

July 9, 2008

By Katherine Evangelista
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 12:01:00 07/09/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Del Monte Philippines Inc. has announced that it would be filing counter charges against the owner of the vessel that sank off Sibuyan Island, and which aside from its over 800 passengers and crew, was supposed to be carrying a toxic chemical from the food conglomerate.

Sulpicio Lines Inc. filed charges against Del Monte for alleged misdeclaration of its cargo, which turned out to be endosulfan, a kind of pesticide that was loaded into the MV Princess of the Stars, an inter-island passenger ferry, that capsized last June 21 after being battered by strong waves spawned by typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fengshen)

Search and rescue operations had been going on for several days when authorities announced the discovery of the toxic chemical inside the ship, prompting the suspension of operations.

Sulpicio sues Del Monte over toxic cargo

July 9, 2008

MANILA, Philippines—After suing the weather bureau, Sulpicio Lines Inc.—owners of the typhoon-wrecked MV Princess of the Stars—Tuesday turned its legal guns on yet another party: Del Monte Philippines, the shipper of the toxic endosulfan cargo.

Claiming P5.5 million in damages, Sulpicio Lines accused Del Monte, among others, of breaching cargo rules by allegedly hiding the toxic nature of the pesticide shipment.

Rescue operations have been halted after authorities learned the ship was carrying 10,000 kg of endosulfan.

In its eight-page complaint filed before the Manila City regional trial court, Sulpicio Lines claimed Del Monte breached the terms and conditions in the Bill of Lading (the contract between the shipper and shipping line) by only indicating “400 Box Endolsufan Technical 94% Min,” which was thus classified as regular cargo.

The shipping company alleged it was verbally informed by Del Monte that the shipment was “rush cargo,” so it was loaded on the MV Princess of the Stars—which would leave earlier than another Sulpicio Lines vessel, the Princess of Paradise—to accommodate Del Monte’s request.

But on June 25, Sulpicio Lines said it received a letter from Del Monte and that it learned for the first time that the endosulfan shipment was actually a “toxic substance and a marine pollutant.”

The listed complainants in the suit were Sulpicio Lines and its vice president for marketing, Jordan Go.

In a phone interview, Del Monte general manager Cito Alejandro said the company had not received a copy yet of the lawsuit.

“We will respond accordingly if and when we receive it,” he said.

Alejandro said Del Monte was ready to present evidence on Wednesday before the Board of Marine Inquiry to prove it properly declared the cargo.

In a previous statement, Del Monte claimed that without its knowledge and consent, Sulpicio Lines loaded the endosulfan into the Princess of the Stars, instead of on the Princess of Paradise, the supposed appointed vessel for the cargo.

Del Monte said Sulpicio Lines had been fully apprised of the nature of the cargo because all required documents were submitted, including the material safety data sheet from the supplier.

Sulpicio insisted that it was the duty of Del Monte to inform them of the cargo that they would be carrying.

Sulpicio Lines has also filed a P4.5-million damage suit against the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). It said PAGASA failed to immediately report that the typhoon had changed course, causing the Princess of the Stars to sail into the storm. With a report from Tetch Torres, INQUIRER.net

Two options: Refloat or tow ship to shore

July 9, 2008

MANILA, Philippines—To refloat or to tow?

Vice Adm. Wilfredo Tamayo, chief of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Tuesday said he had directed Sulpicio Lines Inc., operator of the MV Princess of the Stars, to refloat the capsized ferry.

Tamayo said the refloating should be done as soon as possible so as not to increase the risk that its toxic endosulfan cargo would contaminate the surrounding waters.

Transportation Undersecretary Elena Bautista told the House committee on oversight Tuesday that Sulpicio Lines had given a verbal commitment that it would remain responsible on what to do with the capsized vessel, the toxic chemical in its cargo hold, its fuel and the bodies of the victims still inside the wreck.

“Based on the Sulpicio report this morning, their plan now is to just tow the vessel to the shore to get the (hazardous materials) out, get the fuel out and get the people out,” Bautista said.

The presence of bodies trapped inside the ferry when it capsized with over 800 people aboard during a typhoon on June 21 is one of the factors to be considered when a decision is taken to refloat the 23,800-ton ship, said Sulpicio Lines lawyer Victoria Lim-Florido.

Florido told reporters that Sulpicio Lines wanted to ensure that the bodies would not be desecrated in the process. “We want to do it as humanely as possible. As much as possible, we don’t want to harm the bodies inside,” she said.

The lawyer also said Sulpicio Lines wanted to ensure that all details of the refloating would be ironed out before the operation is commenced.

Ferry’s fate up to insurer

Other factors to be considered are the position of the ship, the fact that it is resting on a reef and the presence of cargo such as the toxic substance endosulfan, according to Florido. Discovery of the endosulfan cargo has prompted authorities to suspend retrieval of the bodies inside the vessel.

Florido said that the ferry’s insurer had to participate in talks about the fate of the ship because Sulpicio Lines had declared its abandonment of the vessel.

“That’s a declaration on our part that the insured object, in this case the hull and machinery, is a total loss and we are transferring all of our rights and our causes of action to the insurer,” she said. “That’s why we have to include the insurer in talks about refloating.”

Towing more practical

Bautista, head of the government task force on the sea tragedy, said that one estimate placed the cost of refloating the vessel at $60 million. She did not give an estimate on the cost of towing the vessel to shore but she reckoned this would be less.

“I think that will be more cost effective, more practical because that can be done maybe within a month as compared to refloating which will probably take three months,” Bautista said.

She said she had been advised by Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez to get a written undertaking from Sulpicio Lines that it would not turn away from its responsibility regarding the shipwreck.

She said she was scheduled to meet with representatives of Sulpicio Lines, Oriental Insurance and the appointed salvor to discuss details of the plan.

Bautista said she had spoken with experts on what to do with the derelict in light of the steep price needed for salvage operations.

“When I spoke with the experts regarding the $60-million price tag, they said there are three ways to salvage the ship,” she said.

“First is to really pull the vessel to shore and do everything that needs to be done, whatever retrieval needs to be done. Second is to refloat it from where it is right now, which will be very costly and which will take a few months since the vessel is upside down. Third is to pull the wreck toward the deeper part of the sea and turn it right side up,” Bautista said.

Oil spill boom

In San Fernando on Sibuyan Island, Lt. Cmdr. Rafael Bellen of the PCG’s oil spill response team said towing the ferry to shore would not cause an oil spill because the vessel’s bunker fuel was contained in the service tank and leakage was not possible.

According to records, he said, the Princess of the Stars was carrying 250,000 liters of bunker fuel.

“Only the oil in the base tank could leak but its effect is minimal,” Bellen said, noting that the PCG had already placed an oil spill boom around the ship to prevent and contain a possible spillage.

He added that he had not yet seen the salvage plan so he could not say if towing could prevent the leakage of endosulfan.

Coconut husks to absorb oil spill

San Fernando Mayor Nanette Tansingco said she had directed villagers to gather coconut husks so they can have an improvised oil spill boom to use.

The PCG Tuesday conducted a demonstration among village chiefs and community leaders on how to make absorbent pads out of coconut husks. With a report from Niña Catherine Calleja, Inquirer Southern Luzon(PDI)

PCG asked to produce officer who cleared ship

July 9, 2008

MANILA, Philippines—Congressmen investigating the latest maritime disaster involving Sulpicio Lines Inc. are looking for the lone Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) officer who inspected and cleared the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars for sailing.

Some lawmakers are incredulous at how the officer managed to inspect the seven-story, 23,800-ton passenger vessel—supposedly in just 15 minutes.

Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella, chair of the House committee on transportation, asked PCG officials during Monday’s hearing to present the vessel’s lone inspector at the resumption of the inquiry next week.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros was herself surprised when PCG officials admitted to purported oversight in inspection procedures.

“Why did only one person board the vessel to inspect?” she asked. “Was he all-knowing? Could he inspect a ship that big in 15 minutes?”

“Only one person inspected a [seven-story] ship and gave it the clearance to sail away,” Parañaque Rep. Eduardo Zialcita said during the hearing jointly conducted with the committee on oversight.

“I’d like to meet that person and ask some questions.”

Super body planned

At the end of the hearing, Puentevella said the transportation and oversight committees would come up with a measure creating a “super body” to regulate “all stakeholders in the maritime industry.”

“If I would have my way, I would revoke (Sulpicio Lines’) franchise right away and I hope to see some of (its officials) in jail,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer after the hearing.

The lawmaker also noted during the hearing that the sinking of the Princess of the Stars was not the only maritime disaster that had struck Sulpicio Lines.

Congress to decide franchises?

“You’ve had four major—and I’m not saying minor—disasters, to use a mild word, one of which was the Doña Paz tragedy wherein 4,000 lives were lost,” he said, referring to the 1987 collision with an oil tanker, which has been considered history’s worst peacetime maritime disaster.

Zialcita endorsed suggestions to have Congress—not maritime authorities—issue franchises to shipping companies.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman noted with sarcasm that it was “more difficult to acquire a mayor’s permit than a shipping franchise.”

Congressmen did not buy the position of Edgar Go, Sulpicio Lines vice president, that practically blamed the still missing ship captain and the government’s weather bureau for the tragedy.

They wanted to know why the company did not order the captain to sail for safety or even postpone the voyage given the weather conditions before the incident.

Advise or order?

Muntinlupa Rep. Rufino Biazon cited a maritime law that required shipping companies to exercise “extraordinary diligence” in ensuring the safety of passengers and vessels.

He said companies should also monitor their vessels while in voyage and not leave everything to the ship master.

“How do you reconcile now your giving in to the captain, who might have an erroneous judgment, versus your responsibility under the law?” he asked.

Go replied: “The safety of the passenger is our priority concern. We would advise the captain to bring the ship to a better place to avoid any accident.”

“You will just advise, not (issue an) order?” Biazon retorted. “We can give a suggestion,” the Sulpicio executive answered.

Told by the lawmaker that there was a difference between giving advice and an order, Go said the company would eventually “make the order … if there’s imminent danger.”(PDI)

Sulpicio not ‘off the hook’ even after insurance payment

July 9, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — Sulpicio Lines, Inc. is “not off the hook yet” even after its insurer pays for the sunken MV Princess of the Stars, Palace deputy spokesman Anthony Golez said Tuesday.

“They are not yet off the hook, definitely,” Golez said, adding Sulpicio could be held criminally liable for carrying a toxic cargo in its passenger vessel.

Under Philippine laws, once Sulpicio accepts payment from its insurer, the Oriental Assurance Corp., it can simply abandon the capsized vessel and drop its plan to tow it to shore, Golez said.

After the payment, Princess of the Stars would be considered an “abandoned vessel” and the “insurance company can already decide as to what they want to do with the vessel and the only time the government can actually touch the vessel is after three months from the time they abandon the vessel,” Golez said.

“Legally, they are allowed to do that,” he said. “But the most important thing here is that we should not treat it as a sunken vessel. We should treat it as a sunken vessel with an endosulfan cargo that can potentially harm our environment and the livelihood of the fisherfolks there.”

Because of this, he said the government would not easily let the shipping line abandon its responsibility to safely retrieve the 10,000 kilos of the chemical endosulfan that sank with the ferry in stormy seas off Romblon province on June 21.

Golez said Transportation Undersecretary Maria Elena Bautista was constantly in contact with Sulpicio Lines officials “to make sure that even if they are not legally liable anymore after the abandonment, they are morally liable for what is inside the sunken vessel.”

The upturned wreckage is believed to contain hundreds of bodies along with a consignment of endosulfan, a neurotoxin that causes dizziness, nausea, and death in large doses.

Officials have decided to re-float the ship to retrieve both the bodies and the chemicals.

Recent tests showed that the waters off Romblon have not yet been contaminated with endosulfan, but residents and environmentalists are concerned that the containers containing the toxic pesticide could corrode allowing the chemical to leach and contaminate the area.

Authorities have banned fishing activities in the area. With a report from Veronica Uy(PDI)

Fish scare troubled towns suffer brunt of sea mishap

July 9, 2008

SINKING LOCAL ECONOMY. Amid fish scare which saw an up to 80 percent price drop of fish and other marine products, fishermen in Balatan, Camarines Sur unload the day’s catch from their fishing vessel.                                                      JONAS CABILES SOLTES

BALATAN, Camarines Sur — With three bodies found and many others reportedly sighted floating along the waters of this fifth class municipality and Pasacao town, the tragedy that struck Sulpicio Line’s MV Princess of the Stars continues to hound with difficulty not only the families of the disaster’s victims but also the residents of towns along Ragay Gulf in the western coast of this province who rely heavily on fishing as their source of income.

Merle Gorgonia, municipal agriculture officer of this town, said 80 percent of the families living in the six coastal villages here who were into fishing had no other choice but to find alternative sources of living after the local fishing industry had been severely affected by the fish scare, following the Department of Health’s advisory to temporarily refrain from consuming fish and other marine products caught in the vicinity of the capsized ship, where hundreds of dead bodies and tons of toxic pesticide are reportedly trapped.

Fishing vessel operator Gavino Napoles in Barangay Siramag here lamented what he termed as misfortune on this town’s fishing industry, which they said had been on decline even before the recent fish scare. But Napoles was hoping that the scare would only last for two weeks at most. Meanwhile, they had to make do with whatever they could net despite the public’s wariness on consuming marine products from this town, to survive the last few days before the onset of the monsoon winds that makes the sea too rough for fishing.

Mayor Nena Borja said the fish scare had ushered in advance the lean season for the local fishing industry, which usually coincides with the monsoon season. She added that the scare had given the town a real glimpse of the looming shortfall in its supply of fish and other marine products.

In Pasacao town, Mayor Asuncion Villamante-Arceño accepted that the municipal government was finding it hard to immediately provide alternative livelihood to fishers, hinting that the move would require an amount that the town’s coffers cannot readily finance.

Borja and Arceño are both first-termer town executives who along with other municipal mayors of towns lying in the western seaboard of this province were having their first tastes of dealing with this kind of economic situation.

Borja said she was expecting assistance from the provincial government in case the worst-case scenario, the unmitigated crippling of the fishing industry here, would occur. Yet, she said the town was lucky enough that the scare took place at the time of the year when fishing activities were waning from a peak season. That was why she was optimistic that the scare would not totally paralyze the main source of livelihood of town residents.

Before, a kilo of most commercial fishes here would sell at an average price of P80. Now, with the fish scare, a kilo of tulingan (mackerel tuna) sells from P40 to P20—an up to 80 percent price drop. But no one would buy, residents attested. That was why most of the catch including anchovies and herrings ended up dried or smoked.

Considered second to the poorest among other municipalities in this province, the town was almost not prepared for unforeseen events such as what is happening now. Borja said that during her first year in office, she focused in reorganizing the problematic setup of this town’s bureaucracy, and did not see the incidence of fish scare, which could seriously pull down fishing activities here, coming.

Arceño, meanwhile, said she did not expect the fish scare to have much debilitating impact on the fishing industry in her town, a fourth class municipality. She said the effect of the scare to her town’s fishing industry would only be temporary and could last only for months, with a year as maximum.

Pasacao town, unlike this municipality, has developed a way to provide alternative sources of living for residents whenever the monsoon season comes. This town, Borja accepted, was still too dependent on fishing, especially the coastal villages.

The town mayor said she could not blame some of her constituents, accepting that there were very few industries here other than turning to the sea to accommodate the less fortunate townsfolk during off-peak season for fishing. And some of them have no other option but to go out of town and settle for jobs that offer meager income in other places such as Naga City.

With the problem facing the town now, Borja said she along with other town officials was being challenged to do something greater and to rise above their town’s depressing station, bewailing that the real problems that need urgent solutions may not be the current fish scare or the declining fishing industry here but the high rate of unemployment resulting from low educational attainments of many of the residents of this idyllic coastal town.(BicolMail)

PCG awards MV Princess of the Stars divers

July 8, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) awarded 42 of its personnel and six volunteer civilian divers on Tuesday for “heroism” in the search, rescue and retrieval operations for victims of the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars.

PCG chief Vice Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo said the divers were awarded for their “high sense of duty, professionalism and dedication” as members of the Coast Guard diving team.

The MV Princess of the Stars, owned by Sulpicio Lines, capsized and sank with more than 800 passengers and crew onboard off Sibuyan Island in Romblon province last June 21 when it sailed into the path of typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fengshen).

Among those commended were members of the PCG Special Operations Group headed by Captain Alfredo Santos, and civilian volunteers led by Vanessa and Alex Garon of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Tamayo also commended the divers’ “preparedness and commitment” to return to Sibuyan to continue retrieval operations once toxic chemicals have been removed from the wreckage.

Recovery operations were halted following the discovery of 10 metric tons of the highly toxic pesticide endosulfan onboard the sunken vessel.

The divers were taken to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center to be checked for possible chemical contamination and are still awaiting the results of the tests.(PDI)

==================================

My Take:

While i have nothing against awards (they inspire people), I was shocked upon learning that the PCG showered itself of self-praises by giving awards to their own employees and civilian-arm personnels.

Look, all these men and women did is perform their task.  Nothing extra-ordinary there.  They dive, they retrieved dead bodies and belongings, they rescued the survivor.  That’s their job.  That’s what they are trained to do.  Now, if they performed something extra-ordinary while on-duty, then maybe, they are to be considered candidates to receive the “hero” tag.

Hello, kung magsulat lang pala ako ng magsulat (manunulat ako), e magiging hero na rin ako?

Yan ang problema sa ating mga nasa pamahalaan eh, pur papogi na lang. Asar!

PCG clarifies discrepancies in ferry survivor count

July 8, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday released a drastically reduced list of survivors from the sinking of the MV Princess of the Stars which is 24 names short of the 56 survivors it had been announcing lately.

PCG spokesman Armand Balilo explained that the discrepancy was because they have eliminated five names, which had been listed twice, while 18 other names are still being verified.

But a marginal note on the list, current as of July 6, that the PCG faxed showed that the information had come from a Sharon Go of Sulpicio Lines, the owner of the ill-fated ferry, which capsized and sank with more than 800 passengers and crew off Sibuyan Island in Romblon province last June 21 when it sailed into the path of typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fengshen).

The 32 survivors are: Oliver Amurin, Renante Ardina, Carlo Jason Arrabis, Francisco Batola, Jessie Rey Blanco, Jessy Buot, Vicente Bulante Burwas, Fusto Colis, Antonio Cosep, Nilo Dagyo, Ralph Alain Dela Pena, Jose Mari Garbo, Jesus Gica, Rodel Laborte, Nina Lauros, Susan Lifbo, Oneil Lubguban, Rey Padin, Jerry Pelimer, Exuperio Pendon, Jonathan Pendon, Jimmy Relativo, Rupert Tan, Ritchie Tayongtong, Danilo Templanza, Minerva Tormocha, Pal Philip Vasquez, Fel Gilig, Roel Libut, Ciraco Nuñez, Estanislao Tura, Renato Lanurias.

The PCG also said that, as of Tuesday, the bodies of the following fatalities in the ferry tragedy had been released to next of kin after being cleared with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI): Armand Barret, Jose Ramil Tuquib, Archele Ilustrisimo, Esmeralda Lequigan, Leonardo Acuzar, Ruel Lariba, Felipe Omandac, Robert Go.

There were 15 other remains that had been found with identification but these were still to be processed by the NBI, which is tasked to confirm the identities of recovered bodies.

Operations to recover casualties from the sunken vessel have been halted after the discovery that the Princess of the Stars had been carrying 10 metric tons of the highly toxic pesticide endosulfan.(PDI)

‘Series of ghastly mistakes’ led to sinking

July 8, 2008

MANILA, Philippines—Inadequate data gathering systems that allowed the weather office to issue storm warnings only after every six hours and “horrendous errors” by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) doomed the MV Princess of the Stars, a House inquiry was told Monday.

At the opening of the investigation of the June 21 sinking of the ferry owned by Sulpicio Lines, Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros demanded the preventive suspension of three PCG officials for allegedly violating PCG policies.

They were PCG chief Vice Adm. Wilfredo Tamayo, National Capital Region chief Luis Tuason Jr. and Manila Station chief Erwin Balagas. Tuason and Balagas had earlier been relieved.

“Sulpicio Lines carried its passengers to their death, but the PCG also made horrendous errors and violations of its policies,” Hontiveros said. “The sinking of MV Princess of the Stars was a horrible end to a series of ghastly mistakes.”

The 23,800-ton ferry carrying more than 860 passengers and crewmen capsized during a raging typhoon off Sibuyan Island. Only 56 people survived the disaster. At least 173 bodies have been recovered, but the rest are unaccounted for, including hundreds trapped inside the vessel.

Prisco Nilo, director of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), told the hearing that his office could only issue severe weather bulletins every six hours, saying its data gathering and analysis systems had yet to be fully automated.

House Senior Deputy Minority Leader Roilo Golez raised the need for more frequent warnings especially because of the erratic path of Typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fengshen).

Golez said the vessel’s captain should have known something was amiss when the ship encountered very rough seas.

Nilo, under Golez’s questioning, said that PAGASA released its severe Weather Bulletin No. 8 at 4:45 p.m. on June 20. The warning raised over Romblon at that time was only Signal No. 2.

The ship would not have been allowed to leave port bound for Cebu at 8 p.m. on June 20 if PAGASA had released one bulletin at that time showing the change in the typhoon’s direction.

Bulletin a big difference

“An 8 p.m. bulletin would have made a big difference if it indicated Signal No. 3 along the Marinduque-Romblon area along the route of the ship. Then the ship would not have departed,” Golez told the Philippine Daily Inquirer later.

Golez also took the ship captain to task for not taking shelter when it encountered very rough seas. “The captain should have known something was wrong with the weather,” he said.

“Radar images showed that (the vessel) was very close to the eye of the storm at 11 a.m. (on Saturday when it sank),” he said.

“This could have been addressed with more frequent bulletins,” said Golez, a graduate of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Nilo said PAGASA’s partially automated system couldn’t gather and analyze local and international data quick enough to come up with typhoon bulletins every three hours.

“Japan is fully automated. They can come up with bulletins every three hours. We are not yet fully automated. We can’t issue bulletins every three hours,” Nilo told the lawmakers.

Doppler radars

Congressmen also criticized PAGASA for its failure to improve its equipment.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, chair of the House committee on appropriations, said Congress allocated P149 million in 2005 for the purchase of the Doppler radars that would enable PAGASA to track an approaching storm.

He added that in 2007, Congress allocated P200 million for the same purpose.

But Nilo blamed the Department of Budget and Management for its failure to secure the radars, saying the DBM handles procurement.

Transportation Undersecretary Elena Baustista said that a modernization program of the PCG’s internal communications system was under way.

She said the P300-million program funded by a Japanese agency was set to be completed by the end of the year.

Coast Guard violations

Hontiveros listed the PCG’s alleged violations of maritime safety procedures. She said that the PAGASA bulletins should have immediately prompted the Coast Guard to plot the “danger sector, an area where a typhoon may pass during the next 48 hours.”

“The MV Princess of the Stars was bound toward the danger sector yet the PCG allowed it to sail,” Hontiveros pointed out. “All ships are prohibited from sailing into the danger sector, except to take shelter.”

Under the PCG’s Memorandum Circular No. 0407, the agency should have informed the Philippine Port Authority to deny final clearance for ships that would pass through the danger sector, she said, adding that the PPA eventually issued no such notice.

“The PCG claims that it informed the captain of the vessel that Signal No. 3 is hoisted in the ship’s route, but dead men tell no tales,” she said.

Assuming the absence of a weather bulletin, the lawmaker said the Coast Guard was also bound by Memorandum Circular No. 03 to use the Beaufort Wind Scale, which measures wind velocity and its effect at sea, to keep ships from sailing.

Hontiveros said the Operation Plan Sea Marshall, which was issued on March 9, 2004, also required the PCG district commander and station commander “to closely coordinate with sea marshals deployed with the ships on heavy weather condition and steer the ship away from the danger sector.”

“This, too, was conveniently ignored,” she said. “These errors should be corrected and the public officials involved in this tragedy should be held accountable.”

Sulpicio Lines slammed

Parañaque Rep. Eduardo Zialcita castigated Sulpicio Lines officials for apparently pinning the blame on the weather bureau for the disaster.

“Are you trying to tell us that you’re completely at the mercy of PAGASA?” he said. “Are you telling us that that ship did not have the equipment, like a simple radar or satellite?”

Sulpicio vice president Edgar Go replied: “The vessel had the equipment to get some information on the weather (but) we also need to get information from PAGASA for comparison.”

Phone line to PCG

Tamayo also pointed out during the hearing that PAGASA only had one telephone line designated for the Coast Guard and that there was a queue on its users—a point Nilo conceded. This was blamed for the gap in the issuance of PAGASA weather bulletins.

According to Nilo, PAGASA has 10 telephone lines that are normally jammed during emergencies.

Tamayo said the PCG usually had to initiate calls to PAGASA before it could get its bulletins. The same was purportedly true when the PCG requested for Weather Bulletin No. 8. “We got it upon our initiative,” he said.

Muntinlupa Rep. Rufino Biazon cited a PCG document purportedly showing the agency receiving the bulletin more than one hour after it had been issued.

“What caused the delay? Was it directly furnished by PAGASA?” he asked PCG officials.

The PCG also admitted another inadequacy when the subsequent PAGASA bulletin was issued on June 21.

Weather Bulletin No. 9 announced Typhoon Frank changing course, but Luis Tuason, PCG’s erstwhile chief for Metro Manila, admitted that his agency could not relay the information to the Princess of the Stars, which was already sailing.

“We have no capability to contact them on high frequency radio,” he said.

By virtue of the eighth bulletin alone, Biazon asked if Tuason, assuming he was the ship captain, would have taken shelter instead of proceeding on course. Tuason replied: “Yes.”(PDI)

Editorial Cartoon: For the Victims

July 7, 2008

May they rest in peace…

Princess of the Stars 5th to sink, not 4th

July 7, 2008

MANILA, Philippines – I wonder why the vessel MV Boholana Princess, also owned by Sulpicio Lines, is never mentioned among the Sulpicio vessels that sank. I also wonder why there was no news of the sinking at that time.

I was a passenger on that ill-fated voyage and here’s my first-hand account: MV Boholana Princess left Cebu for Ormoc at 11 p.m. on Dec. 15,1990. Past midnight, the boat suddenly tilted to the left at an angle of 45 degrees. Passengers were startled out of their sleep, wondering what was happening. But there was no announcement through the public address system, or word from the ship’s captain and crew, about what was going on.

The passengers then scrambled to get life jackets. It was so dark outside the boat that jumping into the sea never crossed our minds. We were stranded for hours. Fishermen arrived to rescue us. But up to that point, there was still no announcement from the captain or from any crew member about what was happening. Finally, we started to evacuate the sinking vessel—with help from the fishermen, but none from the crew. Eventually, we all made it out of the ship.

Oh, by the way, before we left the boat, a guy asked us to surrender the vests we were wearing because they belonged to Sulpicio Lines. Yes, this happened many years ago, but everything is still so vivid in my mind because that incident made me scared of riding boats. This may be hearsay: while we were still on board, there was talk that the boat had hit a reef while the crew were in a drinking session. Still, we were all just grateful to God that nobody perished in that accident. It was all that mattered to us then—that we all came out of the accident alive.

In retrospect, we could have filed a suit against Sulpicio Lines because there was no announcement from the captain and crew about what had happened, and there was no rescue effort initiated by Sulpicio Lines.

Maybe the incident was never reported because there was no casualty. But all the passengers felt that the accident was caused by gross negligence. I hope an investigation into this incident will be conducted, because that will establish that MV Princess of the Stars was the fifth—not the fourth—Sulpicio ship to sink.

—GARDENIA LARRAZABAL, via e-mail

We checked this account with the Philippine Coast Guard. It is indeed on record that MV Boholana Princess, among 14 Sulpicio vessels that figured in an accident between 1986 and 1998, ran aground in 1990.—Ed. (A Letter from a PDI Reader)

The Sunken Ship’s List

July 6, 2008

Below are the list of survivors, passengers, and crew of the MV Princess of the Stars.

List of Survivors

List of Survivors as of June 24, 2008
NAMES MANIFESTED
1 JESSIE BUOT JESSIE BUOT
2 REYNALDO LANURIAS REYNALDO LANURIAS
3 JESUS GICA JESUS GICA
4 OLIVER A. AMORIN OLIVER A. AMORIN
5 REY PAGUIN REY S. PADIN
6 DANILO DEPLANAS DANILO TEMPLANZA
7 RICHIE TAYUNGTANG TAYONGTONG, RITCHE
8 GERRY PALENOR PELIMER, JERRY  (TK#258108)
9 PHILIP VASQUEZ VASQUEZ, PAL PHILLIP
10 URIEL LAGUBAN ONEIL S. LUBGUBAN (TK#259570)
11 RALPH ALAIN DELA PEÑA RALPH ALAIN DELA PENA
12 CARLO JASON ARAVIS CARLO JASON G. ARRABIS
13 RODEL LABORTE RODEL LABORTE
14 PHIL GILIG FEL GILIG
15 JOSE MARIE GARBO JOSE MARI P. GARBO
16 NIÑO LAURO NIÑA LAUROS
17 RUPERTA TAN RUPERT TAN
18 CRIACO NUÑEZ CIRIACO NUÑEZ
19 FAUSTO COLIS FAUSTO COLIS
20 FRANCISCO BATULA BATOLA, FRANCISCO
21 VICENTE BERUAS VICENTE BULANTE BURWAS
VICENTE DIAZ BURWAS
22 REYNANTE ARDINA RENANTE  ARDINA
23 EXUPERTO PENDON EXUPERIO M. PENDON
24 JONATHAN PENDON JONATHAN M. PENDON
25 SUSAN LISBO SUSAN  LIFBO
26 MINERVA TOREMUCHA MINERVA TORMOCHA
27 ANTONIO COSEP COSEP, ANTONIO JR.
28 RONNIE RELATIVO JIMMY RELATIVO
29 RUEL LIBOT ROEL LIBUT
30 ESTANISLAO TURA JR. ESTANISLAO TURA
31 NILO DAYGO NILO DAGYO
32 WRESLEY BLANCO JOSE LESLIE BLANCO

source: http://www.sulpiciolines.com

LIST OF PASSENGERS

Last Name First Name MI
Aballe Joselito R
Aballe Keisha Amidahla
Aballe Rosalina
Abano Iannah Therese
Abano Jayson
Abano Mary Jean
ABARQUEZ MYLA
Abduhadi Flamima
Abedania Arturo D
ABEJO TRISTAN A.
Abelgas Chona
ABELLA ANNABELLA
Abellana Adoracion
ABREN EMIL
ABUZO JOSA
Acebedo Ricardo
AGNASIN MARY JOY
AGUIPO HELENITA
ALBE WHILMORE
Alberca Jaime
Alburo Almario
Alcalde Antonio
Alcantara Evangeline Y
Alcantara Hannah Mae
Alcayde Petra
Alcazar Erlinda
Alcober Sunday
Alejo Encio
Alindahao Edelito
ALINDAJAO JOHN EMMAN
ALIPIN PETRA V.
Alipin Rogelio
Allagones Roberto
Allmorin Aladin Z
Alon Rusty
ALONZO ALMA
ALONZO ROSARIO
Alvarez Glen
Amacna Ester
Amad, Jr. Antonio
Amancio Jun-Jun
AMOOS MARIA CORAZON
Amorin Oliver A
Amper Janine S
Amper John Nino S
Andradi Vidal
ANGCO LABERNE
ANTINEARO JONATHAN
APAD JR II SIMPLICIO
APAT RAUL
ARAO ARAO FLOR DELINDA
Ardina Renante
ARGANTE RODRIGO
Arrabis Carlo Jason G
Arranchado Maisa
Arregadas Luceno
Arters Johnuel
Artes Justine
Artes, Jr. Sotero
Asuncion Christian
Atienza Rosevelt
Aurestila Cirilo
Autida Eutropio
Auza Lorna
Ayade Alejandro
Bacalanos Cesar
Bacalanos Rubelyn
BACUS ANNABELLE
Bacusa Madelyn
BAGUIO DESIDARIA
BAJADOR MARIA CARMENCITA
BAJADOR MONZA
Bajet Antonio
Balane Roland Jay
Balanga Jelly
Balocos Solomon
Balunan Charito
Bardilas Evelyn
Bardilas Romeo
Baring Roldan
Barret Armand
Bartilec Bon Ryan L
BARUC SHAINA JOY
Basa Marjorie
Basnillo Glen
BATERNA JABEL
Batiancila Sarah
Batola Francisco
Batulan, Jr. Jessie James M
BAUSTISTA LUZVIMINDA
Baya Lourdes
BAYNO IRENEO
BEJOC SR. REYNALDO
Bejona Pablito
Belanizo Vernie
Beretria Antonio P
BERMUDEZ PAUL
Berwas Vicente Diaz
Binaro Edelina P
Binaro Elvira P
BINONDO FLORAMIE
BITOME JENALYN
Biton Vergenia
Biyok Raul A
Blanco Jessie Rey
Blanco Jose Leslie
Blanco Rheafe
BLANCO ROSALINDA
Bohol Pascualito
Boltron Sheena May
BOMOTANO GLORIA
BOMOTANO JAYDER JAME
BOMOTANO JESSICA MAE
Bongato Francisco
Bonghanoy Rogelio I
BONILLA FERDINAND M.
BORIGOR ABEGAIL
Bucag Russel
Bula Democrito
Bulawin Desirie Buen
Bulawin Noche Buena
Bulawin, Jr. Desiderio
Bumarlong Herculano
BUOT JESSY
Burwas Vicente Bulante
Cabalquinto, Jr. Candido O
CABANOS MA. GERTRUDES
Cabansag Geniroso
Cabansag Gerald
Cabansag Rose
Cabucos Delia
CAGADAS JUNNIE
Cajes Jordan
Calago Anastacio
Calago Dondy
Calago Gregorio
Calago Paulina
Calatero Ireneo
Calayag Jonathan
Callelero Mathew F
Callelero Michael John
Caluyo Dann Kean Rai
Caluyo Janwelve
Campumanes Abundeuo
Cañada Randell B
CANAGA CECILE
CAÑETE MELJUDE
CANSON CHERYL
Cantay Rolindo
Cantillas Adelaida
CAPAYAS GLORIA
CARABALE JEFFREY
Caralde Felipe
Caralde Paul
Carano-o Aljun
Carano-o Glory Jean
Caray Jenelyn
CARMONA, JR. ARTURO
Cartonilla Jimmy B
Castillo Arturo C
CASTRO KAREN
Catimbang Jamal S
Catipay Emedito
CAYANAN VERNIE R.
Chavez Fernando
CHAVIT LORIE
CHUA BENEDICTO
Chua Henry
Cinco Aluel B
Cita Nicolas
Clarin Arlene R
COLINA PABLITO C.
Colis Fausto
Colis Vergelio
COLOYAN ALICIA
Compra, Jr. Cesar G
Conchas Roque Y
CONDES DEVINA
CONDRILLON BALTAZAR
CONDRILLON KEVIN
CONDRILLON NAEZAR
CONDRILLON NANCY
Conejos Marblecille
CONTRERAS LORNA
Corpuz Ferdinand
Corsiga Samuel M
CORTON RODOLFO
Cosep, Jr. Antonio
COYOCA ABDEEL
COYOCA JAPET
COYOCA JOCTAN
COYOCA LUZVIMINDA
Cruz Reynaldo
Cueva Orlando
CUTANDA ATILANO
Dagpin Perlita E
DAGYO NILO
Dait Avelina
Damalerio Oscar
Damaso Roycy
Dapatnapo Leandro
Dayanan Rolando
DE GUZMAN MARITES
de Jesus Reynaldo
de los Reyes Dolores
Dejacto Natavidad
DELA CERNA EDWIN
dela Cerna Ricardo
DELA CRUZ ALEX
dela Cruz Eric V
dela Cruz Gregorio
dela Cruz Jan Claire
dela Pena Ralph Alain
Delfino Eno
delos Reyes Rita
Dennis Anit
Desilva Engarcial
Deticio Estelita
Deticio Exequiel
Detiquez John Malcolm
Dicepolo Albert
DIDA SAAD
DIONALDO VICENTE
Docuyanan Ryan Jeff V
Dolera Charito Okaba
DOMINO OMEGA
DOROT MELODY JOYCE
Dumas Arjay Wilson C
Duroy Pearl Grace
EBALLENA JOEL T.
Ebanez Editha
Eltagon Jonnie
Embana Hermenigildo
EMMANUEL ALINDAJAO
Encenso Marichu
Ermac Victor
Escaran Ramil
Escartin Jonathan
Espina Bien Amhet
ESPINA PURISIMA
ESTORIA DANIEL A.
Evarola Felipa
EVELINA GALAMAY
Fabroa Rory Crisostomo
Fajardo Leonides
Fajardo Randy
FAJICULAY QUENNIE
FARIOLEN JORNALYN
Fariolyn Glen
Fausto Antonio
FELIX GIANNE ROSE
Fiel Jerico
Fiel Rose
FLORES RALPH EDISON
FONTANILLA ELIZABETH
FONTANILLA JOSE GHIRLAND
FURIA JOCELYN
GABISON JONATHAN
Gabumpa Anne Liese T
GALANIDA ELESITA
GALDO DHANY
Galdo Hermogenes D
Gamis Stefane Mae
Ganade Cherry Amor
Ganade Joel
Garbo Jose Mari P
Garces Lourdes T
Garces, Jr. Lorenzo E
Garcia Socrates
Garcia, Jr. Herminigildo
Gasilos Ariel
GAUDEL AILEN
GAUDEL BARRY
GAUDEL LUCY
Gemongala Delia
Gemongala Wedelisa
Genovia Susan
Geromo Eddie
Gevero Constancia
GIANGAN JOVENAL
GICA JESUS
Gijapon Eddie
Gilbuena Jessica
Gilbuena Justine
Gipgano Joselito
Gipgano Richard
Gipgano Rosalia
Glabog Michael R
Go Chezel Mae
Go Eugene Ray
Go Iris
GO, JR. ROBERT
Golez Francisco L
Gomez Riza
Gonzales Bob
Gorobat Nolan
GOYENECHEA MICHELLE
GRANADA EVANDER
GRANADA WENEBETH
Guinaling Jay Ann
Guinaling Mary Grace
GUINITARAN MARLON
Gumaling Joselito
Gustilo Josephine
HERMANO EDNA
Hermosilla Maida
Hermosilla Nemesio
HILARIO, JR. RICARDO
Himaya Jerluma
HOYOHOY JAY
Ibarola Arnelia
IGNACIO BERNADETTE
IGNACIO, JR. MACARIO
Illustrisimo Janeth
Illustrisimo Kristine Mae
Illut John Lawrence
Illut Josephine
Ilustrisimo Archelle A
Ilustrisimo Nenita
ILUSTRISIMO STEVEN
Jasper Canoy
Javier Jennifer
Javier Renz Anthony
Jayson Ulyses
Jeyson Espina
JIMENEZ, JR. MIGUEL
JINAYON NELISA
Jocelyn Fariolen
JONAVEL SALINAS
Juanico Marites
JULIUS LABOCA EUFRAN
La Luna Anita
La Luna Jamie Lyn
Labad Cheryl
LABAJO JONATHAN L.
Labang Cesar
Labang Juanita
Labis Cheryl
LABORTE ALVINO
LABORTE EMILIO
LABORTE RODEL
LABORTE TERESITO
LACARA EDGAR
Lacay Allan E
Lacay Maridel E
LAGAHID DEXTER
Lahay Lahay Andrilio
Lanchinebre, Windy
Landero Arnel
Lanit, Jr. Dalmacio
Lapaz Emmieliza
LAPUERTA RODRIGO
Largo Cecilia
Largo Jecelle
Largo Mae
Lariosa Roldan
Laturnas Juneven
Laurel Banjo V
Laurel Dodgie V
Laurel Esther
Laurel Jackie
Laurel Jacknil
Laurel Jonil V
Laurel Nilo
Laurente Debra
Laurente Jacoba
Lauron Gladys
Lauron Kent
Lauron Mark Brian
Lauron Marley
Lauron Shirley
LAUROS NIÑA
Lawas Loel
Ledesma Arceni
Legan Roselyn
Leones Dante
LEONILO SALAVER
Lequigan Esmeralda I
LERIN MARINA
Lifbo Susan
Limboy Rey
Limocon, Jr. Roberto
LOBERO JOROSS
LOBERO ROSEMARIE
Lobredo Antonio
Lobredo Jun Jun
LOGROÑO PATRICK
Logroño Romulo
LORETO, JR. ALIVIADO
Louie Alarde Ivor
Luardo Celerino
Lubguban Oneil S
Lucenara Nestor M
LUNASAN NICANOR
LUZADA NOEL
Macalipay Eliorindo
Macapaz Alan Gabriel
Madredijo Donald Eric E
MAGLASANG MARISSA AGUANTA
MAHINAY JOSIE
Mahusay Roel
Malunes Robert S
MALUYA EDWIN
Manango Jorinda S
Mangguilimotan Hermogena
Mangorale Aric
Mangorale Enrique
Mangorale Erica
Mangorale Mariel
Mangorale Marlou
Mangyao Elizalde
Mangyao, Jr. Santiago
Mangyao, Sr. Eduardo
Manigos Erica Marie
Manigos Filcire Marc
MANLAPAZ MARVIN
Manlunas, Jr. Felomino
Manuel Lumapas
MANUGAS RALPH
Maquilan Dionesia
MARA MARA DANILO
MARA MARA RODEL
MARK DIAZ
MARTIN RAMIRO
MARTINEZ ROMEO
MATIAS ANGELITA
MATIAS ELENITA
MATIAS RENATO
MATIAS WILFREDO
MAUNES ALEJANDRITO
Medrano Robelyn
Mejares Richard S
Mejias Richard
Mendoza Rea L
Mendoza Rica L
MIGUEL JECEL
Mindoro Marlon
MIPARANUM LYDIA
Modelyn Jadena
Molina Dexter
MOLINA RODOLFO
MONGAYA GEMMA
MONGAYA LEONARD
MONGAYA MA. ELAINE
MONTERDE ROGER
Montero Alyn S
Monterona Cristy Marie
Montesclaros Jose Alex S
Mortejo Generosie
Musa Jamal
MYARES JOSHUA
Nacua Aliza
Nacua Cyre Dominic
Nacua Danica
Nacua Liza
Nadela Mary Grace
NARISSA MANIGOS
NAVALES, JR. RODOLFO
Nemil Valentino
Nengasca Bonifacio
Nigparanon Alfredo M
Nunez Cesar
Nunez Lovelle Faith
Nunez Mary Razel
Nunez Roger
Nunez Sarcisio
Nunez Uriel
Nuqui Helen
Nuqui Jennifer
Nuqui Kathlyn
Nuqui Klaris
Nuqui Korine Kate
Nuqui Kyla Mae
Obena, Jr. Conrado
Obenza Celerina
Oca Geraldine
Ocampo Darling
OCAMPO GRACE
OCAMPO IVY
Ocampo Jamaica
OCAMPO JV
Ocariza Leya Mae
Odiada Recto
Okabe Teresita
OLEDAN WILFREDA
Oleo Angelo B
OREJUELA JOCELYN
Orfiano John Lester
ORIAS ROMEO
Ortega Leo
Osabel Eddie
OSORIO SOZETTE
Ouano Annaliza
Oyao Lolita C
OYAO MARICEL
Oyao Ronaldo P
Pacana Jaime
Padin Rey S
Padua Jacqueline
Padua Roy D
Pagalan Arnold
PAGALAN JOSELINO
Pahigdana Jonathan
PALOMADO JAN LAURENCE
Palomado John Michael
PALOMADO JORYN
Pandanon Eliza
PANGILINAN RODA
Pantojan Rogelito
PANTOLLIANA LUCINA
Panugan Michelle
Paradero Teofanis
Paradro Nemesias
Paras Jhoevany
Parba Cupertino E
Paredes Michael
Paris Josephine
Paris Quennie
Patalita Jovane
Patalita Sherlyn P
Payawal Rafael
Pelimer Jerry
Pendon Exuperio M
Pendon Jonathan M
Pepito Reinchel V
Peralta Evelio
Pescante Rinalyn
Pescante Rizalino
Pigar Lorenza
Pitogo Christian Jay
Pitogo Jelhwa Marie
Pitogo Jerily
Planas Jhon Melvin
Planas Joselito
PONCIANO EINSTEIN
Ponpon Narciso P
PORONES MARLON
PORQUIADO, JR. ROMEO G.
PRENCIONA ELLA JANE
PRENCIONA URSULO
Pulgo Alexandre G
Punzalan Virginia
Puson Jeremiah
QUILATON DARVEY
QUINAPONDAN ROGELIO
Quinton Benfedie A
RABE GLORIA
RABE RENATO
Rafols Jopet
Ramirez Jaime Antonio
RAMOS EDWARD
RAMOS LENIE
REAMBONANZA ROLDAN
REBAYA NELSO V.
REBUYON ARNULFO
Refuya Marlon
Relativo Jimmy
RELLIN, SR. NESTOR D
RELOS VIRGILIO
REQUILME JUVELYN
Reyes Froxelle Dane
Reyes Juan
RICO FE
RICO JOY
RICO MAUIE
Rico Sheila
Risma A
Risma Angeline
Risma Maria Merle
Risma Zyann
ROBERT FARIOLEN
Rodriguez Cheryl Q
Rodriguez Jhon Cleo
Rojas Socorro R
Roloma, Jr. Jimmy A
Romo Antonina
Romo Cloy Cloy
Rosales Anita
ROSELL ROSALIE
Rosos Ronald
RUELAN TEODORO
Rulida Anastacia
Rulida Xyron
Rusiana Jolito
Rusiana Jundel
Rusiana Junedie
Rusiana Rodger
SABALANDE GINO
SABALANDE ROSEMARIE
SABALONES NARDITA T.
SABALONES WENIFREDO
SABAN PIO
Sabit Renato T
SABUERO MARY JANE
Sagareno Eduardo
SAMSON ALBERTA S.
Samson Ernesto C
Sanchez Charisse
Sanchez Luis Z
SANCHEZ TERESA
SANGUENZA LUCRECIO
Santiago Anthony
SARCOL ROSENDO
Sardoma Mely
SATOR MA. CORAZON
Satorre Nenita E
Selerio Genelyn
Sepe, Jr. Epifanio
SERENADO DAISY
SERENADO DEMOCRACIO
SERENADO NICOLE SHANE
SEREÑO REYNALDO
SHEILLA RAMIREZ
Silao, Jr. Ricardo
Sillar Aquiles
Sim Annie Marie
Simbaco Abeking L
SINGCO RUSSELL
Sinina Antonio
Sismar Neressa
Sister Fe
Sister Manuel
Solante Terry Joseph C
SONGCO REYNALDO
Sotelliza Jennifer C
Sotto Solomon C
Sotto, Jr. Pepito C
SUN JONATHAN
SUPERALES NOEMI
Suson Marites
SUYAT VICENTE B.
Suzette Dulay
Tabanao Reynaldo I
Tabat Marcelina
Taboada Marcelino
Talaboc Cesar
TAMBIGA CARMEN
TAMBIGA LELAND
TAMILAS, JR. DANIEL
TAMPUS ANALYN
Tampus Girlie B
Tampus Nelson M
TAN RUPERT
TANDAN KIT T.
TANGOAN ANITA
Tangpos Sarah
Tao Ricardo
TAPING DAYLINDITA
TAYONGTONG RITCHIE
TAYONGTONG, JR. EPHRAIM
TE KATHLEEN
TEJERIO JOSEPH
Templanza Danilo
TESADO AILYN
Tibon Bennedict
TIGCOM OPHELIA
Tillano Glenn P
TILLOR HELEN
Timajo Christopher
TINGAL MA. SHIELA
TINIO GERMINITA
TINIO JERIC
TINIO RAUL
TINIO ROWINSON
TINIO, JR. MARCOS
TISSLER LOURDES
Tomara Lucky
TOMORCHA MINERVA
TOÑON JENIFER
Torida Bonie
TOSTON ARNULFO
Traballo Eliza
Traballo Marelen
Tribunalo Rex Vincent
Trinidad Junie
Tudtud Venice A
Tulda Joram
Tulda Neil
Tulda Prescilla
Tumakay Sally Ann
Tunacao Angelo
Tunacao Fe
Tuquib Jose Ramil
UMACOB JERRY
UMACOB TERESITA
Ungsod Jocelyn
Ungsod Karyle Ann
VALDERAMA IZABEL
VALDERAMA VILMA
VALDEZ ROWENA
VALDEZ SHAINLY
Vanessa Bridildo
VANESSA PUGADO
Vasquez Pal Phillip
Velasquez Antonio V
Vergara Amalia L
Vesagas Rany
Vesagas Redgie
Vesagas Richard
Viadnes Julito
Vidal Felomina
VILAS ENRIQUITA
VILLACARLOS LEVI
VILLANUEVA KERT CHRISTOPHER
Villareal Adolfo A
Villarta Rodelio S
VILLARUEL ADELITO
Villaruel Estrella S
Villaruel Rogelio R
Villas Jennelyn
Villauel Adelaine Nicole
Villoria Josefina
Vincent Reinoso
Vitor Alejandro
VITOR JEMAFELYN
VITOR JESALYN
Wilma Carabio
Ybañez Joan
Ycong Ferolino
Ygona Fidel
Ynot Ricardo
Yurong Hermenio
ZIEGFRED, JR. BACHO

source: http://www.sulpiciolines.com

LIST OF CREW MEMBERS

CREW
1 CAPT. FLORENCIO M. MARIMON, SR. MASTER
2 C/M RICARDO C. PELICANO CHIEF MATE
3 2/M JAY FRANCO LABIAGA SECOND MATE
4 3/M EMILITO AYAPANA THIRD MATE
5 C/E MARIO B. NUÑEZ CHIEF ENGINEER
6 2/E ROSS RILLERA SECOND ENGINEER
7 3/E GILDO R. SABORDO THIRD ENGINEER
8 4/E DIYZON LIBRADO FOURTH ENGINEER
9 RICKY GONZAGA AUXILLARY 4TH ENGINEER
10 SANTIAGO DOROY, JR. RADIO OPERATOR
11 DR. RAYMUNDO QUIROZ SHIP PHYSICIAN
12 JOEL GUIOGUIO BOATSWAIN
13 MICHAEL SUMASAY QUARTER MASTER
14 LEONARDO ACUZAR QUARTER MASTER
15 RUEL LARIBA QUARTER MASTER
16 JEFFREY CENIZA WATCHMAN
17 FRANCISCO CABANGANAN WATCHMAN
18 EDWARD DIMOL WATCHMAN
19 EFREN EDISAN O.S TOOLKEEPER
20 DEXTER PARDILLO ORDINARY SAILOR
21 VICTOR ROSELLO ORDINARY SAILOR
22 VYNER ARANTILLA ORDINARY SAILOR
23 AGAPITO COMETA ORDINARY SAILOR
24 PEDRO YURAG ORDINARY SAILOR
25 GILBERTO SOLATORIO ORDINARY SAILOR
26 ROBERT VINCENT DELA CRUZ ORDINARY SAILOR
27 ALLAN ROSEL FORKLIFT OPERATOR
28 REYNALDO RAVANES FORKLIFT OPERATOR
29 JOHN TOMAS INSO APPRENTICE MATE
30 RUDOLF SABLAS APPRENTICE MATE
31 DENNIS RANAN APPRENTICE MATE
32 JAYSON FONTALBA APPRENTICE MATE
33 LEONILO ANGELO UBALDO APPRENTICE MATE
34 JOVEN HAYLO APPRENTICE MATE
35 JAYSON ALEGRIA APPRENTICE MATE
36 REYNAN BERONIA APPRENTICE MATE
37 WALTER VERGARA ASST. ELECTRICIAN
38 PHILIP RANDY ALAGBAY ASST. ELECTRICIAN
39 DARIO ANO-OS REEFERMAN
40 MARK ANTHONY EULDAN MACHINIST
41 JONATHAN ECONAS OILER
42 CABALLERO VERULO OILER
43 ABNER SANCHEZ OILER
44 RODOLFO TABOADA, JR. OILER
45 FLORWEN PAYUD APPRENTICE ENGR.
46 HERBERT OMALE APPRENTICE ENGR.
47 FEL GILIG APPRENTICE ENGR.
48 ROMEO HARA APPRENTICE ENGR.
49 PABLITO GEMINO HOUSEKEEPER
50 ROMMEL PERALES HOUSEKEEPER
51 SHEVA ROMARATE STEWARDESS
52 ERIC RUBIO SHIP NURSE
53 ENRICO BARTIDO CHIEF PURSER
54 ARMILIA BOHOLITO ASST. PURSER
55 GINO CARLO AVENTURADO ASST. PURSER
56 JOEY AVENIDO APP. PURSER
57 FELIXBERTO LAGURA CHIEF STEWARD
58 AVELINO RECLA ASST. CHIEF STEWARD
59 SANTIAGO DINAGUIT CHIEF COOK
60 CEDRIANO QUIRONG ASST. COOK
61 BARRY LAGUNA ASST. COOK
62 ROEL LIBUT ASST. COOK
63 REYNALDO VULABOS ASST. COOK
64 ROBERTO MONTERDE ASST. COOK
65 ABEL TANTANO ASST. COOK
66 ROSELLER CACAS STOREKEEPER
67 HIPOLITO MONDRAGON MESSMAN
68 GLENN DELA TORRE MESSMAN
69 LYDIO APDOHAN MESSMAN
70 RONALD FANLO MESSMAN
71 FELIPE LINAWAN MESSMAN
72 CRIS SALES MESSMAN
73 RENOIR COMAJIG MESSMAN
74 ADONES QUIÑANCLA MESSMAN
75 NONITO GULFAN MESSMAN
76 RAMIL ENJAMBRE MESSMAN
77 ALEJANDRO BUENAFLOR MESSMAN
78 JOSE SANELITO LANADA MESSMAN
79 JOMER LAURENTE MESSMAN
80 CIRIACO NUÑEZ MESSMAN
81 RICKY TINDOGAN MESSMAN
82 FERNANDO VILLAR MESSMAN
83 OWEN RAAGAS MESSMAN
84 JEFFREY CORTES MESSMAN
85 FELIPE OMANDAC JR. MESSMAN
86 ESTANISLAO TURA MESSMAN
87 MAYO DUALOS MESSMAN
88 DEXIE FELOMINO MESSMAN
89 RICHANEL ARRANGUEZ SANITARY SUPERVISOR
90 RONNIE OSTIA SANITARY PERSONNEL
91 WALTER OLASIMAN SANITARY PERSONNEL
92 ARNEL JALIPA SANITARY PERSONNEL
93 IGNACIO LAVADIA SANITARY PERSONNEL
94 ARCADIO REMULTA SANITARY PERSONNEL
95 ARNIEL CASIA SANITARY PERSONNEL
96 DANNY BANTOLINAO SANITARY PERSONNEL
97 JUNREY ALBARICO SANITARY PERSONNEL
98 NOVAL ANANIAS SANITARY PERSONNEL
99 LEMAR DIAMOS SANITARY PERSONNEL
100 DANILO MALUYA SANITARY PERSONNEL
101 ALLAN COYOCA SANITARY PERSONNEL
102 HENRY TIRO SANITARY PERSONNEL
103 JHONDY CASTRO SANITARY PERSONNEL
104 ELMER LAWAN SANITARY PERSONNEL
105 JIMBEJAIME DESCARTEN SANITARY PERSONNEL
106 RENATO LANURIAS SANITARY PERSONNEL
107 ALBERTO GASTARDO SANITARY PERSONNEL
108 JUANITO UMPAD SANITARY PERSONNEL
109 JAYSON NECESARIO SANITARY PERSONNEL
110 TONY DINGAL SANITARY PERSONNEL
111 SONNY GUIRHIM SANITARY PERSONNEL
112 JULITO ABAÑO VESSEL HOUSEKEEPER
Non-Crew
1 JOEL MOLO Security Officer
2 GIL MARAMARA Security Escort
3 FERDINAND OLISA Security Escort
4 ARNEL BERGADO Security Escort
5 DOMENCIANO ALVARADO Security Escort
6 ROMY ASEVEROS Security Escort
7 DENNIS CERINA Security Escort
8 RONNIE TINIDERO Security Escort
9 GILBERT OLIVA Security Escort
10 BOYET RIVAS Security Escort
11 DANIEL ROMULO JR. Canteen Personnel
12 RENATO OMBRERO Canteen Personnel
13 FELIX VILLARINO Canteen Personnel
14 JERRY PAUTAN Canteen Personnel
15 LEONITO MARAMAR Canteen Personnel
16 JULIE MENDOZA Parlor Personnel
17 JAINA SEPE Parlor Personnel
18 JOJIE ALECHA Parlor Personnel
19 ESTRELLA NAVESIS Parlor Personnel
20 SUSAN BOHOL Parlor Personnel
21 JULIETA ABATAYO Parlor Personnel
22 JON LOUIS AMOLO Videoke In Charge
23 PO1 RICARDO MARAMAG Sea Marshall
24 PO2 REYNALDO MACARAEG Sea Marshall
25 SN1 CHARLON RAMOS Sea Marshall
26 PO1 GERARDO VALLOZO Sea Marshall
27 RAMIL MISA Canteen Personnel
28 MERCEDITA E. ADOLFO SPA Personnel
29 NELIA DEMETILLO SPA Personnel

source: http://www.sulpiciolines.com

Nograles opposes gov’t takeover of Sulpicio

July 4, 2008

By Delon Porcalla
Friday, July 4, 2008

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Speaker Prospero Nograles yesterday said the government must make the “disaster-prone” Sulpicio Lines pay for the death of at least 700 passengers of the ill-fated M/V Princess of the Stars, rejecting proposals for a government takeover.

“The government has no business getting into private businesses,” Nograles said in a statement, effectively shutting down the takeover proposal.

Nograles instead suggested that government apply “the full force of the law to punish whoever is responsible for the mishap, which now appears to have been caused by negligence and bad judgment.”

Heads should also roll in the Maritime Industry Authority, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Ports Authority and the Department of Transportation and Communications on who allowed the ferry to sail amid the presence of typhoon “Frank.”

“Officials of the agencies that oversee the maritime industry should be asked to step down or resign from their posts,” Nograles said.

He said government must have the resolve to modernize and streamline maritime operations to ensure the safety of all water vessels.

“I don’t think that the government’s takeover of Sulpicio will improve our record on maritime safety. Government has no business getting into private business. Its business is not to make money but to address the basic social needs of the people,” Nograles said.

“The correct supervision, regulation and oversight of the DOTC officials and its responsible agencies are some of the major defects that cause sea mishaps. And their incompetence will be rewarded by allowing them to take over? In other countries, they would be asked to resign,” Nograles said.

As for the management of Sulpicio Lines, Nograles said that the company’s license to operate may be revoked and criminal and civil charges should be filed against the shipping company.

Nograles has endorsed a marathon investigation on the Princess of the Stars mishap.

The main objective of this investigation, he said, will be to craft measures that will improve the country’s maritime industry and, at the same time, plug the loopholes of existing maritime laws.

Nograles noted that the overlapping functions of several agencies might have also been the culprit behind the country’s embarrassing maritime safety record, thus recommending the streamlining of agencies involved in the regulation and supervision of vessels in the country.

Even Sen. Pia Cayetano agreed with Nograles that Malacañang should look into the problems of the country’s maritime industry instead of contemplating the takeover of Sulpicio Lines, Inc.

Cayetano stressed that even if the government bases the takeover on a constitutional provision, it would still not address the problem within the agencies responsible for the safety of our seas. – With Christina Mendez

========================

My Take:

Normally, I would clap my hand in agreement with Nograles.  But something is telling me that this latest Nograles-antic is a no Nograles-regular.

I am posing this question thus: Bakit?  Anong interes ang pinoprotektahan ni Nograles sa Sulpicio lines?

Sana eh “wala” ang sagot dito.  But if anyone out there knows something we dont, you can enlighten us here.

:)

My prayers to the victims of the mishap.

Quezon execs mull civil suit vs Sulpicio

July 4, 2008

By Perseus Echeminada
Friday, July 4, 2008

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It’s now Quezon’s turn to threaten Sulpicio Lines with a legal case reportedly for the huge damage inflicted on the province’s livelihood by the sinking of the M/V Princess of the Stars.

“We are studying the option of filing a civil suit,” Quezon Gov. Dante Nantes told reporters at a news forum at Danarra Hotel in Quezon City yesterday.

The governor’s pronouncement came a day after Romblon officials announced plans to sue Sulpicio Lines for damages.

Nantes said the province’s fishing industry suffered heavily after the sinking because a health department ban on fishing in Romblon has caused a widespread aversion to fish among consumers.

The government earlier ordered a temporary ban on the consumption of fish caught in Romblon due to possible contamination of endosulfan, a container of which was in the cargo hold of the sunken ship.

Compounding the province’s woes, Nantes said, was its having to deal with corpses washed ashore, particularly in the coastal town of Mulanay.

“The fish scare is affecting the livelihood of the people,” he said. He said the province also lost more than a thousand fishing boats due to the onslaught of typhoon “Frank” (international codename Fengshen).

The governor stressed that fish harvested in Quezon waters – even if they fed on human flesh – are safe to eat.

He also assuaged fears of possible chemical contamination in Quezon’s waters.

“If the eyes (of fish) are red then the fish are exposed to certain chemicals,” he said.

Nantes said the site of the sinking is far from Quezon and that any spillage or chemical contamination would be evident in Sibuyan.

Princess of the Stars sank on June 21 off Sibuyan Island in Romblon while trying to seek shelter at the height of typhoon Frank. It was on its way to Cebu with more than 800 passengers and crew on board when tragedy struck. Only 57 were reported to have survived and hundreds more are missing.

Livelihood assistance

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap will propose to President Arroyo a P35-million livelihood assistance for some 1,500 fishermen affected by the fishing ban in San Fernando, Romblon.

Duque said at a press briefing that he had recently discussed the idea with Yap and that they agreed to propose it to Mrs. Arroyo.

He said the plan involves the distribution of P16,000 to every affected fisherman for three months or just about the time it will take for experts to refloat the sunken vessel.

Duque said they based the amount on the assumption that a fisherman normally harvests 10 to 15 kilos of fish daily which they sell for P40 to P50 per kilo.

But Duque said the proposed assistance program should not stop Sulpicio Lines from extending its own aid package to fishermen.

“Sulpicio Lines, as an expression of its corporate social responsibility, should actually approach the affected fisherfolk and see how it can mitigate the dilemma confronting these fishermen and the threat to their fishing industry,” Duque said.

The DOH will conduct daily tests on San Fernando waters until the ferry’s toxic cargo is retrieved.

Duque reiterated that fish sold in Metro Manila are safe for human consumption because they come from Palawan and not from Romblon.

Speedy help promised

Sulpicio Lines promised yesterday to fasttrack the release of compensation to the legal heirs of the victims in the ferry sinking.

In a statement read by lawyer Arthur Lim, the firm said that SLI would cut down the waiting period from one year to one week. “If we can deliver the check in one or two days’ time so much the better,” Lim said.

He added that they would no longer wait for the authorities to complete the retrieval of the bodies before they hand out the P200,000 check to each of the beneficiaries. If all the 724 victims were compensated, the SLI would be spending P144 million.

“SLI has decided to cast aside technicalities and waive the waiting period of one year within which missing passengers will be compensated,” the statement read. “There is no need to hire the services of a lawyer because the claims will be acted upon with dispatch and with a simple documentation as possible.”

Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos has admitted that Edgar Go, SLI senior first vice president, recently asked for his help in convincing the government not to ground the liner’s vessels.

“I went to Malacañang the other day (June 30) because of the request of the owner of Sulpicio Lines,” Pueblos said in an interview with Radio Veritas. He said Go requested him to make an appeal to Malacañang against the grounding of the firm’s vessels.

He said he relayed Go’s message to a Malacañang official whom he declined to name. The official, he said, responded “positively.” – With Sheila Crisostomo, Evelyn Macairan, Mike Frialde(PhiliStar)

Sulpicio loses court case

July 4, 2008

Friday, July 4, 2008

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CEBU – A Regional Trial Court judge here awarded P6 million to the heirs of one of the fatalities in the M/V Princess of the Orient, another ship owned by Sulpicio Lines Inc., which sank off Batangas in 1998.

Reporters got a copy only last Wednesday of the ruling issued by Judge Estella Alma Singco last Feb. 1. The judge found Sulpicio Lines liable for civil damages for the death of Ernesto Unabia, one of 70 confirmed fatalities when Princess of the Orient sank after being battered by strong waves near Fortune Island in Batangas on Sept. 18, 1998. Eighty passengers and crew remain missing.

Sulpicio Lines is currently facing a possible class suit for the death of more than 800 people after the company-owned liner M/V Princess of the Stars sank off Sibuyan Island in Romblon at the height of typhoon “Frank” last June 21.

Singco ordered the shipping company to pay Unabia’s heirs P6.240 million in compensatory damages for lost earnings, P100,000 for moral damages, P50,000 indemnity and another P50,000 for attorney’s fees and litigation cost.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by Verna Unabia and her three children over the death of Ernesto, a seaman in an international ship earning $3,000 a month.

Singco, in her 19-page decision, said that Sulpicio Lines’ failure to take disciplinary action against the ship captain, Esrum Mahilum, who also figured in several sea mishaps prior to the Princess of the Orient tragedy, made the firm’s management liable for negligence.

Records of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) showed that the Princess of the Orient touched bottom at the entrance of North Harbor in Manila, sideswiped another container vessel and the engine room even caught fire while berthed at North Harbor, and the vessel was towed from Manila to Cebu then to Singapore for repairs and dry docking.

But, despite all these incidents, Sulpicio Lines retained Mahilum as the ship’s captain until the vessel sank.

The Board of Marine Inquiry that investigated the mishap found that the company lacked the initiative to discipline Mahilum.

“For failing on the part of the defendant to take disciplinary action against Capt. Mahilum relative to those incidents, and allowing him to retain his job, the defendant unnecessarily exposed the vessel and the passengers to the tragic mishap,” Singco said in her decision.

Singco cited investigation reports of the Marina that blamed Mahilum for his incompetence and negligence.

Mahilum, who remains missing until now, failed to supervise his officers and crew in the process of abandoning the ship.

According to the court, while it (Mahilum’s retention as skipper) did not cause the sinking, “such failure doubtless contributed materially to the loss of life.”

Singco said that Sulpicio Lines failed to overcome the presumption of fault or negligence that arises in cases of death or injuries to the passengers.

“Under Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code, owners and managers are responsible for damages caused by the negligence of a servant or an employee, the master or employer is presumed to be negligent either in the selection or in the supervision of that employee,” Singco said.

The judge added that such presumption may be overcome only by satisfactorily showing that the employer exercised the care and diligence of a good father in the selection and the supervision of its employees, as ruled by the Supreme Court in the case Pestaño vs. Sumayang.

Singco said that based on evidence presented by the complainant, Sulpicio Lines clearly failed to exercise due diligence in the supervision of its employees.

“Hence, the defendant (Sulpicio Lines) is liable for the death of the plaintiff’s husband,” the court ruled.

In awarding the damages to the complainant, the court computed it based on the victim’s gross annual earnings multiplied by the number of years he was supposed to be employed until his retirement. According to the wife, her husband was only 37 years old at the time of the incident, which means he still had 13 years before retirement as a seaman working on foreign vessels.

Seaman Unabia was earning $3,000 a month or P120,000 based on the P40:$1 exchange rate in 1998. Based on the court’s computation, Unabia would have earned P6.240 million until his age of retirement.

Unabia’s case is the first to be decided among the cases filed by other victims of the Princess of the Orient tragedy.

Another civil case is still pending before the RTC branch 23, which is reportedly due for judgment in August.

Unabia’s family is among the very few who refused to amicably settle their claims with the shipping company.

Among the passengers of the ill-fated ship that survived were Cebu City councilor Edgardo Labella and his wife and the late Colonel Napoleon Sesante, who died of cancer.

Labella and Sesante did not join the class suit that some of the victims’ heirs have filed against the shipping company. – Fred Languido/Freeman News Service


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