Still ‘no action’ on collision

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Monday, August 11, 2014


FOUR days away from the first anniversary of the collision between mv St. Thomas de Aquinas and mv Sulpicio Siete on Aug. 15, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Board is still reviewing the recommendations of the Marina 7, which conducted an administrative investigation on the incident.

The Marina 7 office did not comment on the result of the investigation, pending the evaluation and final decision of the Marina Board.

As mandated by Presidential Decree 474 that created Marina on June 1, 1974, the Marina Board is composed of Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Antonio Abaya as chairman and Marina Administrator Maximo Mejia Jr. as vice chairman.

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The members are the secretary of the Department of National Defense, representative of the Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Ports Authority general manager, and representatives from the Office of the President, private ship owners association and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Mum’s the word

Arnie Santiago, chief of the Marina Enforcement Office based in Manila, said he cannot divulge the recommendations of Marina 7 now that these are under evaluation and so as not to preempt the Marina Board’s decision.

On the other hand, the Special Board of Marine Inquiry (SMBI), which finished its separate investigation last September, has yet to release its findings.

The SBMI consolidated all the evidences and testimonies of all the witnesses, including survivors.

There were also statements of officials and counsels of both the 2Go Group that owned mv St. Thomas de Aquinas and Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. that operates mv Sulpicio Siete.

The SBMI team was composed of Commodore Gilbert Rueras of the PCG as chair; Santiago for Marina; Chief Mariner Nestor Perrero, a navigation expert; Chief Engineer Waultrudth Tanamor, a vessel engine expert.

Procedures

Santiago explained the SBMI procedures:

The SBMI submits an investigation report to the Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI) which reviews it. If new evidence comes out during the review, the BMI sends it back to the SBMI for consolidation.

If there is no new evidence, the BMI approves the report and submits it to Abaya for approval and copy furnishes Mejia.
Santiago said that once the DOTC approves the report, copies will be furnished to all government agencies concerned for the implementation of SBMI’s recommendations.

For example, Santiago said, if the BMI recommends that the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) install buoys to serve as demarcation line between inbound and outbound lanes, a copy will be sent to CPA for implementation.

Santiago clarified that the administrative investigation being conducted by Marina 7 officials and whose report is under evaluation by the Marina Board determines liability and penalty.

On the other hand, the SBMI investigation and BMI report are only recommendatory in nature and do not carry punitive action. EOB

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 12, 2014.

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