Number of deaths rises to 81-A A +A
Saturday, August 24, 2013
DIVERS recovered the body of a girl between three and four years old wearing a red polka dot garment late yesterday afternoon.
This raised the death toll to 81 on the eighth day of the search, rescue and recovery operations after last Aug. 16’s ferry collision. This also lowered the number of missing persons to 39.
The number of survivors is still posted at 750.
The girl was believed to be one of the 870 passengers of St. Thomas Aquinas that collided with Sulpicio Express Siete.
Divers brought her body to the incident command post at the Talisay Fish Port.
After police conducted a physical documentation, they forwarded the body to the Cosmopolitan Funeral Parlor.
Divers temporarily stopped their search and recovery operations around 9 a.m. because of a rough current. They also needed to refill their oxygen tanks.
They resumed operations at 2:15 p.m.
Not their doing
Also yesterday, Commodore William Melad, Central Visayas Coast Guard (CG) commander, denied another newspaper’s report that they barred a shipping firm from loading crude fuel to run power generators in Bantayan Island.
This would have caused blackouts in the island’s three towns, endangering their tourism and poultry industries.
“Hindi po totoo yon, nagkaroon po ng (That’s not true, there was a) miscommunication,” Melad told Sun.Star Cebu.
He said ships have started ferrying fuel to the island yesterday.
He said he already spoke with Bantayan Mayor Ian Escario about the matter.
Melad said the Philippine CG stopped issuing permits to “dangerous items” loaded to ships since last week.
Accepting and denying cargos are now in the discretion of the ship’s captain, he said.
“Pwede na ho silang magkarga ng (They can carry) dangerous cargoes as long as these are declared in the Master’s Oath of Safe Departure,” said Melad.
What happened the other day, he said, was that a shipping firm refused to carry fuel bound for Bantayan Island.
Melad clarified that it was the firm’s decision, and not the CG’s.
He said dangerous cargoes must be safely secured and the total cargo must be within the ship’s capacity, as stated in the master’s oath.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 24, 2013.