Senate resumes inquiry on maritime disasters on Thursday

January 6, 2010 11:36 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Jan. 6 — Senator Richard Gordon expects the attendance of the owners, ship captains, and crew of sea vessels involved in recent tragedies at the resumption on Thursday of the Senate blue ribbon committee’s investigation into maritime disasters.

Gordon, who is the committee chairman, said they have sent subpoenas to the ship owners, captains and crew of M/V Catalyn B, which collided with F/V Natalia in the waters off Limbones Island in Cavite last December 24, and of M/V Baleno-9, which sank off Verde Island in Batangas last December 26.

“We need to find out where the lapses were. We would like to find out from the captain of M/V Baleno why there were a lot of passengers who are not listed in the manifesto. We also would like to know if rules were followed by M/V Catalyn B and F/V Natalia,” the senator said.

The owner and the boat captain of M/B Commando 6, which sank en route to Mindoro last May 2009, were also invited to attend the Senate hearing.

During the last hearing on Dec. 29, Gordon interrogated officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).

The officials admitted that a lot of roll on-roll off (RoRo) sea vessels used in the country were built for inland use only and that many passenger ships are being manned by major patrons, who are not full-fledged captains.

Among those expected to attend the hearing on the part of the government DOTC Undersecretary Thompson Lantion, Marina Administrator Elena Bautista, PCG officials headed by commandant Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo and officials of the Batangas Port-PCG. (PNA) scs/jfm

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