Saturday, August 17, 2013

FERRY INCIDENTS

Maritime incidents can and do occur in any part of the World in both coastal waters and oceans.  They can and do involve small craft, large craft, combinations of each, both recreational and professional.

The most prevalent of these incidents are ferry accidents in Asia and of these the ones that involve the largest vessels are Philippine ferries.  There are a large number of these throughout the Nation connecting the various 7,100 of its islands.  They are old, poorly maintained with very little if any enforcement of Philippine Maritime Law and Marine Regulations such as it is.

Now when one of these incidents occurs one has the choice of ignoring it even as the writer and publisher of a nautical blog.  After all what is the point, nothing is going to change in the Philippines Marine World anyway.  Last year NAUTICAL LOG wrote a comment in response to a Post in the Philippine maritime blog Marine Café Blog.  In an atypical Philippine response to even constructive criticism they decided not to publish it and informed NAUTICAL LOG that they would not publish anything further from us.  This of course is their right and privilege, while we may not respect their decision we accept it, we also edit all comments received.  In turn this leaves us to research any Philippine maritime incidents and decide if we are going to ignore them or write a Post.

Considering how by reading Marine Café Blog www.marine-cafe.com (from which there has been no Post about this latest disaster as of yet) one learns how poorly the Philippine seafarers are trained - if one may even call it that - and in many cases with broken down and shoddy equipment at the national training facilities.  In fact it has reached the stage where they failed European Inspections and Philippine seafarers were found with false STCW paperwork.  Some international companies tested these seafarers and found they had little or no idea how to perform the STCW required tasks for which they held certification.  Currently Philippine seafarers are at risk of losing acceptance of all maritime certification and will be unable to go mann ships outside their island nation. 

One has to wonder therefore about how authentic the Certification of Officers serving in US based cruise ships sailing from US Ports.  From personal observation of Philippine Officers standing Bridge Watch in cruise ships NAUTICAL LOG believes that as a result of the documented poor training of Philippine seafarers and the falsifying of Certification these Officers should be required to pass a re-certification test conducted by the USCG prior to being allowed to act as an OOW in cruise ships sailing or calling at US Ports with US citizens as passengers.  This is reinforced by the abysmal record of watchkeeping by Philippine seafarers in their own island nation as stated by their own Media.



MS Thomas Aquinas

MS Sulpicio Express 7

If this is the quality of seafarers sent overseas to mann contracted ships one can only imagine with a high degree of suspicion the maritime skills or lack thereof in the Inter-Island Philippine ferries.  So when one learned this morning of a collision off Cebu between the ferry MS Thomas Aquinas a 40 year-old ship in known poor repair and the MS Sulpicio Express 7 a Philippine owned cargo vessel it was a tragic repeat performance. The ferry sank with a possible loss of life of some 300 persons within 15 minutes from impact and the cargo ship while still afloat has a heavily damaged bow.

MS Doña Paz

Imagine our surprise when we read SULPICIO as the possible owner of the cargo vessel.  This was the company - Sulipico Lines  - that owned and operated the MS Doña Paz from Leyte to Manila which during a passage collided with a tanker the MS Vector on December 20, 1987 which resulted in the loss of some 4000 persons. One of the greatest loss of life maritime incidents in the World and even in the Philippines, from which nothing was learned or applied to Philippine Maritime Safety or indeed anyone held responsible.

Good Watch.


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