Ship sinkings have cost 6,000 lives, millions in losses-A A +A
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
THE sinking of at least eight passenger vessels owned by various shipping lines in the past 26 years has claimed more than 6,500 lives and resulted in hundreds of millions of pesos worth of properties lost at sea.
Two of these eight maritime disasters were collisions just like what happened to m/v St. Thomas Aquinas of the 2Go Group Inc. and m/v Sulpicio Express Siete of the Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. last Aug. 16.
Last week’s tragedy has resulted in almost 60 people confirmed dead so far.
The first collision of ships on record was in December 1987 involving m/v Doña Paz of Sulpicio Lines Inc. (now Philippine Span Asia) and oil tanker m/v Victor in the seawaters off Mindoro. The collision resulted in the death of 4,386 Doña Paz passengers, making it the world’s worst peacetime maritime disaster.
The second collision was on Dec. 2, 1994, involving m/v Cebu City of William Lines Inc. and Singaporean freighter m/v Kota Suria in the Manila Bay. The accident claimed the lives of 140 people.
The other maritime accidents happened during bad weather.
On Oct. 23, 1988, less than a year after the collision of Doña Paz and Victor, m/v Doña Marilyn, also of Sulpicio Lines, sank off Leyte at the height of typhoon Unsang, killing 300 passengers.
On Sept. 18, 1998, m/v Princess of the Orient, also of Sulpicio Lines Inc., sank off Bataan during tropical storm Gading while sailing from Manila to Cebu. The incident
claimed 453 lives.
In June 2008, m/v Princess of the Stars sank off Romblon, killing more than 800 passengers.
In February 2004, m/v Super Ferry 14 of Aboitiz Transport System (ATS) was burned and sank off Manila, resulting in the death of 116 people.
On Nov. 23, 1983, or three months after the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. was shot at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport, m/v Doña Cassandra of Gothong Shipping Lines sank in the Bohol Sea while sailing from Nasipit, Agusan del Norte to Cebu at the height of typhoon Warling.
About 167 people died in that accident.
On Dec. 23, 1999, m/v South Korea sank in the seawaters off Bantayan Island, Cebu.
About 45 people died out of the 606 passengers and 54 crew members on board.
Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgar Labella was one of the survivors of the Princess of the Orient tragedy. He was then a Cebu City councilor.
Fifteen years after he survived, Labella filed a resolution in the Cebu City Council urging the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to get their acts together and review the maritime safety policies, citing a rise in marine accidents involving passenger ships.
Labella had found out that aside from negligence and incompetence of ship crews, there is also the inefficiency and inability of government agencies to ensure maritime safety.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 20, 2013.