Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Call to Action – BLOGSWARM Towards Maritime Safety

Join the BLOGSWARM Towards Maritime Safety to create awareness on the state of Maritime travel in the Philippines. The poor sector are affected the most and exploited by greedy shipping line owners made worse by corruption. There is a need for bloggers to come together to improve the situation on the following:

  • The Philippines being composed of 7,107 islands maritime is the major form of transportation of the majority of the poor people.

  • The industry is poorly regulated with so many agencies involved but lacking in equipment necessary to make maritime voyage safe and secure.

  • Poorly managed shipping lines and poor regulation by so many government agencies.

  • Poor record keeping by the shipping lines such as passenger manifest, overcrowding, inadequate life saving equipment and carrying toxic material cargoes in passenger vessels sacrificing passenger safety over profitability.

  • Poorly funded infrastructure such as lighthouses, global positioning devices and distress signal system, rescue vessels for immediate response.

  • Lack of political will to comply with International Maritime Organization safety and liability standards. Not as single maritime casualty investigation report has been submitted to the organization despite having a Filipino elected as secretary general as mandated under the terms of its membership.

  • Passengers and ships are poorly insured lacking P&I coverage due to the ships poor condition.
Disasters in the sea not only affect the passengers, crews, and their relatives but other sectors such as subsistence fisherman unable to make a living off the sea due to consumer fears of tainted sea foods not just from toxic chemicals but the dead victims as well. Local municipalities surrounding the disaster sites where victims bodies are washed on their shores are having a hard time responding to the problem whose meager resources are further depleted.

Unless and until we see a strong desire and political will for accountable good governance we are stuck in the muck of pathetic corrupt governance. We have seen enough disasters and to this day the latest of which is the M/V Princess of the Stars, the list of some of the biggest civilian maritime disasters below should have given us a coherent government policy and political will to safeguard the passengers’ safety and well being:

  • Dec. 20, 1987: In the world's worst peacetime shipping disaster, 4,340 people drown when the ferry Dona Paz collides with the tanker MT Victor in the Philippines.
  • Oct. 1988: The Dona Marilyn ferry sinks in the central Philippines during a typhoon, killing 250.
  • Dec. 1994: A freighter slams the ferry Cebu City in Manila Bay, drowning at least 34 and leaving more than 100 of about 600 passengers missing. Rescuers pluck about 450 people from the sea, many coated in the diesel oil disgorged as the ferry sank.
  • Dec. 1995: Dozens are killed when the overloaded MV Kimelody Cristy catches fire off Fortune Island, southwest of Manila.
  • Feb. 1996: An overcrowded wooden ferry, ML Gretchen, capsizes close to shore of central Negros island, killing 54, including 31 children, and leaving 12 missing.
  • Aug. 15, 1997: The King Rogers, a sightseeing boat, sinks after being battered by strong winds and big waves, killing four Hong Kong tourists and 12 Filipinos. About 75 others are reporting missing.
  • Sept. 1998: The Princess of the Orient ferry tilts in storm-whipped waters near Batangas province south of Manila, leaving 70 dead and 80 others missing.
  • Dec. 1999: An overloaded MV Asia South Korea ferry sinks in the central Philippines, killing at least 51 people, including several Nepalese students. More than 700 others are rescued.
  • April 2000: The wooden-hulled Annahada ferry capsizes shortly after leaving southern Jolo Island, killing at least 87 people. Dozens of others are reported missing.
  • April 2002: Wind-swept flames engulf a packed inter-island ferry in the central Philippines, killing at least 23 and sparking panic among its 290 passengers and crew, some still waking up at the end of a 12-hour overnight trip. More than 90 are injured and 13 reported missing.
  • Feb. 2004: A bomb believed to have been planted by al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf extremists explode aboard the Superferry 14 near Manila Bay, igniting an inferno that kills 116 people in Southeast Asia's second-worst terrorist attack.
  • June 21, 2008: The MV Princess of the Stars, a 23,824-ton ferry, capsizes off central Sibuyan Island in a typhoon. Villagers find six bodies, while only four survivors are found in the initial hours of search efforts.
Visit POGB to download BLOGSWARM images or continue reading articles below:

No comments: