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Lulubog, lilitaw, magtuturuan

June 25, 2008

Devastating…

That’s the word that I can think of to describe what had happened to the MV Princess of the Star.

I have a friend who is a relative of the Sulpicio’s. In fact, I was able to visit the Sulpicio mansion in Cebu. It is inside a big compound with several houses. I was introduced to the whole family. So when the news broke out about the capsized vessel.. I had a flashback of the their faces.

I had goose bumps. More than 700 people feared to be dead.

Who’s to blame? Well, its time for the “pointing fingers game”. The suspects are:

  • PAGASA for giving false hopes incorrect/incomplete weather forecast.
  • Coast Guard for allowing the vessel to sail which they said was within the guidelines
  • Sulpicio lines for allowing the vessel to sail (the coast guard is saying that it is the Company’s call).
  • The captain of the Ship for the late order to evacuate.
  • The passengers for not even hesitating to sail even during a bad weather

Here are my thoughts.

We all know that PAGASA’s weather forecast is not that accurate, And its not that we just knew about this today or yesterday. But in all fairness to them, they are trying their best with their limited resources – even with some upgrading – to give a more accurate forecast. They can only do so much with their limited equipment. So it’s better to use other sources of information. Like those from Japan, hong Kong, Hawaii, and other countries around the pacific. For sure they are also monitoring the weather. Come to think of it, why not use their equipment instead?

But really, I don’t think we can get an accurate forecast of our weather.

The Government has regulatory powers. They should have a say as to allowing a ship to sail or not. And they shouldn’t give this power to the shipping companies.

Shipping Companies on the other hand should update their Standard Operating procedures and include other sources of weather information aside from PAGASA. Furthermore, they should double check their equipment – vessels – more often. They should also include more life saving equipment especially when they are sailing with a typhoon signal. Maybe they should increase the number of check-ups/maintenance of their vessels. It was soooo ironic that the ship was reported to have had problems with its engine during that day. There were no reports of inadequate life saving equipment, so I guess its true that the vessel really passed the safety standards.

The Captain knows best, its his ship and for sure he has vast experience sailing even in worst conditions as that one. Maybe – this is just a hunch – maybe the captain knew that if he asked the people to abandon ship early, they will be crushed by the big waves. Maybe the captain thought that staying in the ship will be better and he was hopping that the tides would push them near the shore. But then again, the captain should know the area. Based on reports, the part were they capsized has a rocky sea bed which punctured the vessel.

The passengers should know best. Their lives are at stake here. This are those times where constant communication and information updates should be present. If they knew that there was a typhoon, they should cancel the trip. I hope that Shipping lines could include this in their policies that any customer can re-book their trip in consideration of their welfare whenever there is a typhoon. And when 30% of the passengers re-books, then the shipping line can cancel the trip. That’s just a suggestion. I think its better to cancel the trip than face the consequences of a sunken ship and loosing lives right? Maybe airlines can adopt this also.

I asked around from people who often use and travel by water/sea and they said that big ships like the MV Princess can withstand a signal number 1 and 2 typhoon. I asked 2 of my uncles who works as seamen, they said they often experience typhoons along their way. What made this case different is that the ship had problems. It was not able to “go with the flow” and battle the waves. It was like a sitting duck.

There are news articles saying that the Company is not handling this situation properly. Its not the first time that this incident has happened. Based from reports, its the 4th time that it occurred for this shipping company (maybe only considering the gravity of the incident). For sure they know what to do.

So who’s to blame? Everyone. But who will the majority point their fingers to?

Sulpicio.

Why? Because they have the money to pay whatever it is that has to be paid. They can’t bring back the lives of the dead.. All they can do is pay.

Meanwhile, the government will, as it always does, show to the public that they are doing everything to prosecute the person/s responsible for this incident and try to enact laws or regulations which will be in effect 10 years from now.

But i’m writing this as an observer. If any of my family members or relatives was in that ship, then i guess you’ll read a different view. Or maybe, you won’t even see any article.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2008 10:07 pm

    I was very surprised to learn that the ferry had been given permission to sail. A few years ago, I traveled quite a bit between Siquijor and Dumaguete and passage would be canceled if the barometric pressure wasn’t within a certain standard.Perhaps this ferry,being larger than the craft that go to Siquijor, was judged to be more sea-worthy.
    You’re right….there will be much finger pointing in the days ahead.

  2. July 3, 2008 10:08 pm

    They shouldn’t be given permissions to sail….Mapakarami na nila violations….Kung sinu-sino pa sinisisi…..

  3. July 10, 2008 8:53 pm

    I have read the whole content……..only i can say is that,….this is filipino… risk today,suffer tomorrow,
    “BAHALA NA”

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