Another Weesam fastcraft experiences problems at sea; no one hurt

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011


ANOTHER vessel of SRN Fast Seacrafts Inc. is in troubled waters.

While SRN Fast Seacrafts’ Weesam 8 is under investigation for running aground last Sept. 10 in the seawaters off Talisay City, Weesam 6 experienced engine trouble midsea Monday afternoon.

Weesam 6, which replaced Weesam 8 to serve the Tagbilaran-Cebu route, was powered only by one engine when it completed its voyage from Tagbilaran City, Bohol to Cebu City.

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Weesam 6’s two engines were working when it left Tagbilaran at 4:30 p.m. last Monday, but one of its engines conked out at sea. With only one engine working, the fastcraft moved slowly toward Cebu City, delaying the arrival of its 133 passengers.

Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) 7 senior supervisor Engineer Mardon Martin said Weesam 6 will also be investigated for the incident, which endangered the lives of passengers.

Suspension

Weesam 6 and 8 are being held at Pier 4, Cebu City after Marina Administrator Emerson Lorenzo issued a preventive suspension order against them and three other vessels namely, Weesam 3, 5 and 7.

Weesam 1 and 2 are spared because they are drydocked in Zamboanga City.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he will include the Weesam 8 incident in the set of issues he will raise to President Benigno Aquino III.

Rama noted that the Coast Guard in Cebu was unable to promptly respond when Weesam 8 ran aground off Talisay.

The mayor is trying to set a dialogue with the President on several issues, including the opposition by several sectors to the plan to build more flyovers in Cebu City.

Rama said the Coast Guard’s allegedly slow response is a national issue. However, he added, the Coast Guard will continue to get its subsidy from the Cebu City Government.

Audit

“An assessment has to be made. It’s not about subsidy withdrawal but (it should serve as a) lesson and clear admonition,” said Rama.

Marina 7 will inspect and audit Wessam 6 and 8, and determine why one of the engines of Weesam 6 conked out.

Marina Deputy Administrator Nicasio Conti said a team from Marina central office is here in Cebu to investigate Weesam 8.

Weesam 8 ran aground at the seawaters off Talisay City last Sunday.

Conti said the investigation of the crew, re-inspection of the vessels of the shipping lines and the audit of the safety management system is part of normal procedure, following an incident. The procedure is meant to prevent similar incidents from happening.

Marina 7 Legal Officer Jose Cabatingan said Marina 9 based in Zamboanga City, which issued the Certificate of Public Convenience to Weesam vessels, has set the hearing on whether the shipping firm’s franchise would not be revoked on Sept. 16 in Zamboanga City.

With this, the team from the Marina central office that is in Cebu will require the crew of Weesam 8 to submit an explanation on why their Safarer’s Identification and Record Book, which is popularly known as seaman’s book, would not be revoked or suspended.

Cabatingan said the home port of the Weesam vessels is Zamboanga City.

“This is the reason Marina 9 will conduct the hearing on whether the franchise will be revoked or not, and Marina 7 will conduct the re-inspection and audit of Weesam 6 and 8 in coordination with the enforcement group from Manila,” Cabatingan said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 14, 2011.

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