Submarine tour suspended anew

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014


THE Lapu-Lapu City Government is set to issue a memorandum today confirming the temporary suspension of the Cebu Yellow Submarine Underwater Tour, four days after the vessel figured in a minor accident.

City Administrator Teodulo Ybañez said the City has sent personnel since Friday to make sure that the submarine stays grounded.

“We are alarmed. It was a critical incident. Good thing only the vessel’s antenna was damaged,” Ybañez told Sun.Star Cebu in a phone interview yesterday.

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He said an establishment’s business permit is automatically suspended or revoked once the establishment violates any ordinance or law.

Investigation

The Maritime Industry Authority temporarily suspended the operation of the underwater tour so it could inspect the vessel.

The Coast Guard Cebu Station (CGCS) is also investigating the crew of the submarine to find out if the incident was caused by human error.

The submarine’s antenna hit an anchored pump boat, which had no one on board, in the waters off Barangay Maribago last Thursday afternoon. No one was hurt.

CGCS Commander Rodolfo Villajuan said the submarine had around 20 tourists on board when the incident happened.

Villajuan said the owners of the submarine and the pump boat settled the matter amicably. The submarine’s antenna was damaged while the pump sustained a dent on its body.

The suspension came a year after the City halted the underwater tour for two months after a video clip of the submarine ramming into a wall corals went viral on the Internet.

Japanese technical diver Satoshi Toyoda captured the video in the Kontiki Drop, a popular diving site off Maribago.

The City allowed the underwater tour to resume after the operators vowed to shoulder the cost of rehabilitating the damaged corals, initially pegged at P250,000, and allow representatives from City Hall to get on board to monitor the tour.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 10, 2014.

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