Monday, June 30

Princess of the Stars, Star of the Sea

Sulpicio's MV Princess of the Sea Sunk last Saturday. Who is to blame?

DOST slams Sulpicio for blaming Pagasa

Philippine Star - Sunday, June 29
The Department of Science and
Technology (DOST) lashed back at Sulpicio Lines for blaming the weather bureau
in the sinking of the M/V Princess of the Stars, saying that it was the company
that erred.
DOST Undersecretary Graciano Yumul said Sulpicio should not pass
the buck to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services
Administration (Pagasa) because the agency had issued ample warnings about
typhoon "Frank."
Pagasa is under the DOST.
Sulpicio lawyer Arthur Lim had
blamed Pagasa for inaccurate reporting on the typhoon causing the Princess of
the Stars to be caught in the eye of the storm last week.
Nestor Pontero,
Sulpicio's port officer in Cebu, claimed that the last message he received from
Princess of the Stars Capt. Florencio Marimon was "Buanga ning Pagasa, pataka
lang (Pagasa is crazy; it is only guessing)."
The last communication was
received at around 7 a.m. of June 21, just before the 23,000-ton passenger ferry
capsized off Sibuyan Island in Romblon.
Marimon is still
"Initially, they blamed the (Philippine) Coast Guard, but it turned
out that they were operating on an old guideline. After that, they said it was
an 'act of God.' And now they are blaming the Pagasa... We have full
documentation that complete bulletins (were issued)," Yumul told The STAR.
said Pagasa follows a "protocol" in which it submits warning bulletins to the
National Disaster Coordinating Council and the Philippines Coast Guard, which in
turn disseminate information on weather updates.
Aside from this, Pagasa also
maintains "voice services" where the public can get updates about the weather by
dialing 433. The weather bureau also regularly posts bulletins on its
"And if they register on our website, they can receive weather
bulletins in their own email addresses," Yumul said.
Yumul stressed that on
top of individual media interviews, Pagasa had called for five press conferences
from June 20 to 22 to inform the public on changes in Frank's route.
is really no reason for Sulpicio not to know about the developments in typhoons.
Pagasa has been doing its best to inform the public," he said.
maintained that ship captains should be conscious not only about the weather in
their ports of origin but also in their ports of destination.
Manila was
reportedly under typhoon signal No. 1 when the Princess of the Stars sailed, but
signal No. 2 was already up in Romblon by the time the ship reached its
vicinity. - Sheila Crisostomo/Philstar

Six years ago, I visited Sibuyan Island. I don't remember if I rode a Sulpicio lines but I do remember my boat experience. It was something one cannot forget.

We boarded the boat at 12ish because we were to depart the port of Manila at 1pm bound for the Island of Romblon, Romblon. 3pm and we were told there was a delay due to engine trouble. 4pm, we were asked to move to the ship beside where we were. Our boat was never going to move. 5pm, the coast guard ok-ed the boat and we left for port. Where's our bed? by the time it was dinner, we were still standing in the hallway. One of us got sick. Our moderator of the Immersion program, went to fix things.

Later, she told us the surprise. We get to sleep in the hallway because there was a different set of passengers who booked the 5pm boat. All from the 1pm boat were to just stay in the hallway. Don't worry, the crew will still give us dinner. Did the coast guard know this? Apparently, after they checked the 5pm boat and saw the manifest, we were let in. Passenger and crew totaled 2,000. Boat capacity is only 800. Go do the math.

We arrived in Romblon at 5am. Now to catch the other boat to Sibuyan Island. Surprise again! We are not at Romblon, Romblon. We are at Tablas, Romblon.

Luckily, we were Assumptionistas and a priest gave us a lift to Romblon proper to take the next boat to Sibuyan.

So, toxic boxes int he hallway? Seen it! Bet you haven't seen animals there too! Sand, cement, marble, animals, people, stocks, food, they are all in the hallway.

700 people in MV Princess of the Stars? Was that the declared number? How many are undeclared? What about undeclared cargoes?

200,000 pesos per person. Is that the amount a life is worth? Things are getting expensive, people's lives are getting cheaper.

So, why did the search start 3 days after the boat sank? Passengers who were alive inside the ship died due to the cold and the toxic pesticides. They don't have P&I Insurance. This means they don't get money to do clean-ups. Sulpicio is the one who is shelling the money to do the search and rescue operations. But isn't the government doing that instead?

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