Blame game-A A +A
Friday, August 23, 2013
IN EVERY disaster, whether caused by nature or man-made, we often toss the blame on other people and to the government. Sometimes, we even blame God. This can be true because, in many instances, a disaster could not have had happened without some people’s mistake or neglect.
Consider the collision in the seas off Talisay City involving M/V St. Thomas Aquinas of 2GO Shipping and Sulpicio Express Siete of Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. (formerly Sulpicio Lines).
As what I wrote in my previous column, human error caused the accident that resulted to the death of more than 70 persons, with many still missing and feared dead.
I pin the blame for the accident on the two captains, Rolito Gilo of Sulpicio and Renan Bermejo of St. Aquinas. They cannot wash their hands of the disaster. They deserve to be punished through the revocation of their licenses and by putting them behind bars.
But I don't know if they will be punished criminally. I still have to hear of a boat captain involved in a sea mishap and surviving it being put to jail. So too shipping lines operators.
Kon mangapriso pa nang nga tag-iya og mga barko, nahurot na unta’g kapriso kanang taga-Sulpicio kay daghan silag barko nga nadisgrasya. Ang mga biktima sa lunod, makig-settle ra man gud pod.
But we will not limit our blame on the ship captains for that maritime disaster.
Consider also this view from our reader, who called himself Smokey:
“The government is to be blamed for the accident involving M/V Sulpicio Express Siete and M/V St. Thomas Aquinas. Condolence to the victims.
“The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) must be blamed for its failure to check the competence of the captain and crew of a ship. There are ship captains and crew members who lack credentials but still manage to board vessels because of corruption.
“Even vessels that are not seaworthy get to sail because of this. This is common knowledge in the shipping business.
“The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is also to blame for the lack of lighted buoys in the channel. These navigational devices could have guided the ships and the collision could have been avoided.
“The PCG is in charge of Solas (Safety of Life at Sea). To avoid a similar incident in the future, the PCG must immediately install navigational aids in the channel.
“The Cebu Port Authority (CPA) must also be blamed for not dredging the channel. CPA is in charge of maintaining the navigability of the channels.
“The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), as the supervising department of all the three government agencies, must also be blamed for incompetence and inefficiency.
“A reliable source said the channel should have been dredged to deepen and widen the sea lanes but for whatever reasons the project is still awaiting approval of the DOTC two years after it was bidded out. Lives would not have been lost had the implementation of this dredging project not been withheld by the DOTC.”
True. I fully agree with the opinion of the letter-writer. As what I have said, let this disaster serve as a lesson and a wake-up call to all maritime industry stakeholders. And that includes the government.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 24, 2013.