Archive for the ‘M/B Mae Jan’ Category

Two Boat Sinkings, A New Year Ferry Suspension in Bicol, Wave Height and Gale

January 3, 2009


For thousands of Bicol ferry passengers the forlorn walls of the ferry terminals in Tabaco (Albay), Pilar and Matnog (both in Sorsogon) was their New Year’s eve sight. This came about because government authorities, on the advice of the weather bureau, suspended small crafts from sailing citing forecasts of waves of up to four meters high.

This suspension is probably a reaction to the recent sinking of the motor boat MB Mae Jan which plies the Calayan island to Aparri, Cagayan route in which about half of its 100 passengers died. It was said that the weather was fine when the boat left Calayan but it turned bad before the boat reached its destination. The incident highlighted the disregard of PAGASA (the Philippines weather forecasting bureau) advisories which warned of big waves for that day.

Maybe the suspension is only correct. Forecast of wave heights should be the governing factor in ferry trip suspensions rather than wind speeds which is the basis for typhoon forecasts. It is waves that primarily swamp and capsize ships and not the winds per se. People should probably start to understand now that ships can meet sinking incidents even without a typhoon warning (and I am glad PAGASA now uses the term ‘gale’ to describe stormy sea conditions). I hope that government will stress more the importance of heeding wave height forecasts and educate people accordingly.

Sometimes I wonder if we need MB Mae Jan incidents for us to learn these things. But with the new system I hope the lives lost in that incident and in the MB Don Dexter Cathlyn sinking off Dimasalang, Masbate which killed about 40 people would not have been in vain.

This day, this change had a new twist. Ferry trips in Bicol were again suspended but this time the reason for the suspension is the refusal of the ship captains to venture out to sea combined with the barring of sea travel by the the Coast Guard. I hope this development augurs a new era of more pro-active observance of sea safety. I think we have needlessly lost enough lives in sea tragedies over the years because of the bahala na (leaving things to providence) attitude.

However, I hope this will not augur a new era of over-cautious sailing when ships are grounded when a storm is still far away and it so happened only that there is already a typhoon warning. Economic oppurtunies are lost this way. There is no need to automatically suspend ships when it is still shining and wave forecast is still moderate.

For prudence, maybe a finer distinction between small ships is needed. Old sea travellers know that outriggers and motor boats which are wooden are more vulnerable than steel ferries and there are bigger ferries that can handle waves better. The should not all be lumped under the category of ‘small sea craft’.

More passengers will be stranded in the future, for sure. But maybe it will also teach them how to read weather forecasts especially those that are available on the Net which is numerous enough and is up-to-date.

[photo credit: freewebs]

23 drown in another ferry boat mishap

December 15, 2008

The storyline is similar for many ill-fated boats in the Philippines. It’s often a passenger ferry which comes out in a stormy weather then keeling over, causing the deaths of innocent passengers. Disregard of travel advisories, overloading, failure to follow typhoon warnings, inaccurate passenger manifests, and lack of common sense are among the reasons why many of these boats sink.

The tragic tale had been repeated in M/B Mae Jan— the inter-island vessel which sank on Sunday, December 14, 2008 in Aparri, Cagayan. The ill-fated ferry which killed at least 23 people left port in inclement weather with about 80 passengers. Fifteen (15) were reportedly missing and 43 were rescued alive. Overloading was suspected.

Alex De los Santos of the Ballesteros Police Department named 11 identified fatalities as follows: Amy Arellano, Wilfredo Agatao, Angel Suarez, Kristine Cangas, Eva Llopis, Leonardo Llopis, Ofelia Balmes, Paz Escalante, Karen Fadero, Angela Tabo, Abella Arellano. Their bodies and that of 11 other victims were taken to funeral parlors in Aparri for identification.—Inquirer (12/15/08, Kwok, A)

Last month, on November 6, 2008, nine (9) people drowned with Rolly IV, the passenger vessel which sank in Iloilo. The dangerous maritime record of the Philippines will continue so long as no significant government action is done to curb the recurrent sea mishaps. =0=

UPDATE: December 17, 2008. As of presstime the death toll rose to 45 and 8 individuals are still missing. The boat’s owner was reported to be among the dead.

RELATED BLOGS: “RP’s maritime disasters: a harvest of blame and shame” Posted by mesiamd at 11/08/2008; “Ferry boat sinks in Masbate killing 40” Posted by mesiamd at 11/04/2008; “Boat mishap in Iloilo, 9 dead” Posted by mesiamd at 11/06/2008; “The need for witnesses in the Princess of the Stars toxic chemical recovery” Posted by mesiamd at 9/25/2008; “Endosulfan safely retrieved: where are the other toxic chemicals?” Posted by mesiamd at 10/07/2008; “Toxic Cargo” Posted by mesiamd at 6/28/2008; “A Sorry Maritime Safety Record Indeed In The Philippines” posted by myty555 at 11/09/2008

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23 drown in another ferry boat mishap

December 15, 2008

The storyline is similar for many ill-fated boats in the Philippines. It’s often a passenger ferry which comes out in a stormy weather then keeling over, causing the deaths of innocent passengers. Disregard of travel advisories, overloading, failure to follow typhoon warnings, inaccurate passenger manifests, and lack of common sense are among the reasons why many of these boats sink.

The tragic tale had been repeated in M/B Mae Jan— the inter-island vessel which sank on Sunday, December 14, 2008 in Aparri, Cagayan. The ill-fated ferry which killed at least 23 people left port in inclement weather with about 80 passengers. Fifteen (15) were reportedly missing and 43 were rescued alive. Overloading was suspected.

Alex De los Santos of the Ballesteros Police Department named 11 identified fatalities as follows: Amy Arellano, Wilfredo Agatao, Angel Suarez, Kristine Cangas, Eva Llopis, Leonardo Llopis, Ofelia Balmes, Paz Escalante, Karen Fadero, Angela Tabo, Abella Arellano. Their bodies and that of 11 other victims were taken to funeral parlors in Aparri for identification.—Inquirer (12/15/08, Kwok, A)

Last month, on November 6, 2008, nine (9) people drowned with Rolly IV, the passenger vessel which sank in Iloilo. The dangerous maritime record of the Philippines will continue so long as no significant government action is done to curb the recurrent sea mishaps. =0=

UPDATE: December 17, 2008. As of presstime the death toll rose to 45 and 8 individuals are still missing. The boat’s owner was reported to be among the dead.

RELATED BLOGS: “RP’s maritime disasters: a harvest of blame and shame” Posted by mesiamd at 11/08/2008; “Ferry boat sinks in Masbate killing 40” Posted by mesiamd at 11/04/2008; “Boat mishap in Iloilo, 9 dead” Posted by mesiamd at 11/06/2008; “The need for witnesses in the Princess of the Stars toxic chemical recovery” Posted by mesiamd at 9/25/2008; “Endosulfan safely retrieved: where are the other toxic chemicals?” Posted by mesiamd at 10/07/2008; “Toxic Cargo” Posted by mesiamd at 6/28/2008; “A Sorry Maritime Safety Record Indeed In The Philippines” posted by myty555 at 11/09/2008

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