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PIA Press Release
2010/01/06

Commentary: Of owners of tragic seagoing vessels

By Aurora Casimpan

Tacloban City (6 January) -- Call it self-preservation, arrogance or simply indifference. Such description fits most owners of maritime vessels in the country where the occurrence of seaborne tragedies have become prevalent. Apparently, ship owners ascribe sea tragedies when it happens as maybe tragic but unavoidable and so has to be accepted as one's lot.

History would tell that owners of such tragic vessels have repeatedly displayed an attitude of non-chalance when tragedies involving their vessel occur.

Countless stories of families scrambling to look for their lost kin have become a rehashed tale of woe and difficulties. Tragedies of dire magnitude which have become a cycle seemingly have never been a learning lesson for stakeholders of seagoing vessels.

The recurrence of the same tragedy display the same event of activities, attitudes and investigations unfold and die until the next tragedy happens again.

What has become apparent is that life especially when its owners are poor people do not deserve to be given importance. The poor can just be paid and so owners continue on their merry way of operating the business of coffin like ships in the high seas. And so the cycle of death continue.

The worst is when owners of tragic sea vessels avoid responsibilities by sneaking out of the country to cool their heels and let matters related to the tragedy die down.

And so it is worth mentioning that Senate Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada asked the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Marcelo Libanan to place on its watchlist the owners of the ill-fated MV Baleno 9 which sank off Calapan on December 26.

It is believed that the case of MV Baleno 9 owner Patrick Ang need to be focused on and not to allow him from leaving the country to evade prosecution, the senator said as much.

The viability of seagoing vessels is a responsibility of its owners and if dire tragedies arise the first to be prosecuted and jailed should be the owners themselves.

Drastic measures against maritime vessel owners need to be imposed if that is what it takes to avoid recurring sea tragedies. (PIA-8) [top]

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