A SHIPPING firm is facing a P1.18-million damage suit for allegedly failing to safeguard one of its passengers, who reportedly fell into the sea last Feb. 15.

Petitioners Florentina Flores and her son, Luvis, filed the complaint for breach of contract of carriage and damages against Trans-Asia Shipping Lines before the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City.

The vessel, the petitioners said, breached its “contractual obligation” when it failed to observe the provisions of Articles 1733 and 1755 of the Civil Code to bring its missing passenger, Ronie Pajares, to his destination “safe and sound.”

Lawyers Jerone Castillo and Floro Casas, Jr. assisted the petitioners in filing the suit last June 15.

No report

In a phone interview, Baltazar Llenos, Trans-Asia spokesperson, told Sun.Star Cebu that they have not received any information about “man overboard” or a person fallen from a ship into the water.

Llenos begged off from commenting on the case until they receive a copy of the complaint. He assured Sun.Star Cebu that they will respond to the issue accordingly once they read the complaint.

In her complaint, Florentina, 74, said she and her grandson, Parajes, 26, boarded the MV Trans-Asia 3 from Cebu City to Cagayan de Oro on Feb.15.

Florentina was assigned to upper deck 3, while Parajes was assigned to deck 2, just below his grandmother.

Florentina said Parajes complained of stomach ache even before they boarded the vessel. Florentina said she fell asleep and woke up an hour later. She found out that Parajes was not on his deck.

Florentina said she searched Parajes in the entire the ship, to no avail. Sensing her to be very anxious, a security guard approached Florentina, who then reported about her missing grandson.

The guard told Florentina to remain in her cot while the vessel’s personnel would search for her grandson.

Witnesses

The guard later returned along with two other passengers, who told Florentina that they noticed someone fell into the sea.

“From the time the incident was reported and during the entire duration of the voyage, no one from the management, or crew (of Trans-Asia) exerted efforts to turn the vessel back, search for Ronie and rescue him,” the complaint read.

The ship management did not also report the incident to the Coast Guard for rescue operation, the petitioners said.

When they docked at the Cagayan de Oro port on Feb.16, Florentina waited at the exit door of the vessels and checked every passenger disembarking from ship, but still failed to find her grandson.

“At this time, her exhaustion and emotion overwhelmed her and she started to cry,” the complaint read.

Florentina’s son, Luvis, fetched her at the port. Since Florentina found that Parajes had gone missing, no one from the ship management showed concern over the situation.

“The ship’s management, or crew likewise did not offer any help to plaintiffs on who they can contact and report the incident to,” the complaint read.

Report

Luvis reported the incident to the maritime police in Barangay Puntod, Cagayan de Oro on Feb. 16. Trans-Asia, on the other hand, reported the incident to authorities only on Feb.17.

“The wrongful acts or omission of the defendant caused plaintiffs to suffer mental anguish, serious anxiety, wounded feelings, moral and sleepless nights,” the complaint read.

The petitioners asked the court to order the shipping firm to pay them P500,000 as moral damages; P500,000 as exemplary damages; P85,714.37 as actual damages; and P100, 000 as attorney and litigation expenses.