WHAT happened to Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Circular 2009-01?

The circular was issued on Feb. 4, 2009 by then Marina administrator Ma. Elena H. Bautista to, among others, “ensure that adequate marine insurance coverage against legal liabilities and expenses are secured to answer for claims for damage or compensation to risks not covered under existing regulations.”

Addressed to all domestic shipowners and operators of ships plying the domestic trade, the circular declared that “only ships with P & I coverage shall be allowed to operate in the domestic trade.”

It defined P & I (Protection and Indemnity) insurance as that which covers a shipowner’s or operator’s liability to others. Among these liabilities are those that arise from wreck removal or from pollution.

Pollution is the basis of the municipality of Cordova’s claim for damages from 2GO

Group Inc. and Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp., the shipping companies that owned the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas and the M/V Sulpicio Express Siete, respectively. The two vessels collided last year off the coast of Talisay City as a result of which Aquinas sank, killing nearly a hundred people on board and causing massive damage to the environment.

Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy asked, during a recent meeting, 2GO and PSACC for the names of their insurance companies. The shipping companies, however, refused to divulge any names prompting the mayor to voice suspicions that the two vessels were not covered by P & I insurance.

Indeed, sources in the shipping industry say that many shipowners refuse to secure P & I coverage because of the huge cost in premiums involved. Some compliant shipping companies are complaining that this has resulted in unfair competition and have lobbied with Marina to level the playing field by strictly requiring all vessels to be covered by P & I insurance.

Protection and indemnity insurance coverage does not only assure adequate compensation to third persons in case of damage, a shipowner told me. It also promotes seaworthiness of the vessels as the P & I clubs will serve as additional regulators in ensuring that the ships meet safety standards.

I know Addie Sitoy well enough to expect him to relentlessly pursue his town’s claim

for damages. He will not stop asking questions until he gets answers that satisfy them. I hope that one of the questions he’ll ask is what happened to Marina Circular 2009-01.


People are still talking about the priest who, during the requiem mass for a well-known former official, repeatedly mentioned the name of another former official as example of one who will also die. He (naming the official) can die tomorrow or six months from now, the reverend said.

Maybe it was an innocent remark or maybe the priest was miffed because the official, whom his doctors abroad declared as free of a serious disease, walked out before the final blessing, said one observer.


Congratulations to Glenn Soco, who started yesterday as new anchor of TV 5’s Aksyon Bisaya. I have absolutely no doubt that Glenn will be up to the challenge and carry the program to greater heights.

I will always have a soft spot for Aksyon even if my own ride has ended--upon my choice, if I may add. I had a great time working with very wonderful people in the newsroom. They will always be family for whom I pray for continued good health and better leadership. Cheers, Glenn and Georj!