Human error-A A +A
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
WILD WINDS, ferocious fires and clumsy captains are the major causes of maritime disasters. Despite ships being packed with high-tech and state-of-the-art navigational systems and being built to withstand all that the world's oceans can throw at them, there are still many major shipping disasters reported.
While the casualty toll of shipping disasters spawned by bad weather may not be as alarming as it was in the days of sail ships, weather conditions still account for numerous accidents.
Captain error often goes hand-in-hand with bad weather, where high winds and crushing waves can push ships off course into shallow waters. These terrible conditions usually make ship movement difficult and one wrong turn by a captain can spell disaster.
But sometimes, bad weather has nothing to do with shipping accidents at all. The blame can be pinned on the captain of the ship. This was what happened to the recent maritime disaster that took place in our own waters.
Friday night, the weather was fine. But how come, M/V St. Thomas Aquinas of 2GO Shipping and Sulpicio Express Siete of Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp., (formerly Sulpicio Lines) collided at the Lawis ledge in the waters of Talisay City?
St. Thomas Aquinas, carrying more than 800 passengers and crew members, immediately sank after the collision. While Sulpicio's front portion was damaged, it remained afloat.
I am not pretending to be an expert on this, but the way I analyze the situation and based on the marine protest filed by the two captains, I can say without fear of contradiction that human error caused the accident.
As to who was at fault, that will be determined after a thorough investigation. Imagine that just to save themselves, Capt. Rolito Gilo of Sulpicio and Capt. Renan Bermejo of 2GO are now blaming each other.
Sus, wala nay mangangkon sa mga kanahan.
Gilo claimed that he radioed the other vessel to avoid collision but received no response. On the other hand, Bermejo claimed that it was the fault of Sulpicio because the latter failed to follow a traffic separation scheme and occupied the inbound lane even if it was outbound. (For mariners, the term inbound is going to the pier. Outbound is leaving the pier).
At about 8:34 p.m., Bermejo said that his vessel, heading for the Port of Cebu, was already near the Lawis ledge. It was about to enter the inbound lane but was met by the outbound cargo vessel on the same lane. He repeatedly told Sulpicio officers and crew that they were in the wrong lane but the vessel did not alter course.
“As I am restricted on my starboard side due to shallow waters and the outbound vessel was occupying the inbound lane,” Bermejo noted, “I decided to alter course to avoid a collision.”
But while the Aquinas tried to move to port, the other vessel, Bermejo claimed, suddenly changed course to starboard and that caused the collision.
So, what do you see in that? That it was definitely human error. These two captains are liable for that sea mishap. They failed to communicate with each other and did not use their common sense and experience so their respective vessels and the passengers would be spared from that terrible disaster.
Di kaha hubog ning mga kapitana o ba kaha nag-mahjong?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 21, 2013.