Marina suspends operations of passenger motorboats along Iloilo-Guimaras route
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) has suspended operations of all passenger motor bancas along the Iloilo-Guimaras route, pending review and assessment of the vessels' safety conditions.
The announcement comes days after multiple boat accidents in the Iloilo-Guimaras Strait led to the death of at least 31 people.
Ruling out collision and overloading of passengers as causes of the accident, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Sunday, August 4, said "squalls" or sudden strong gusts of wind at sea sunk passenger motorboats M/B Chi-chi, M/B Keziah 2, and M/B Jenny Vince.
In a statement Monday, August 5, Marina said it had directed two roll-on roll-off (RO-RO) vessels to increase the frequency of their trips along the Iloilo-Guimaras route to cater to the transportation needs of passengers in the affected area.
Four additional shipping companies were also directed to serve the Iloilo-Guimaras route. Marina had asked the Montenegro Shipping Lines Incorporated and the Tri-Star Megalink Corporation to deploy one RO-RO vessel each, and the Ocean Fast Ferries Incorporated and the 2GO Group Incorporated to deploy one fastcraft each.
Marina has begun its investigation into the multiple boat accidents, sending an investigation team to the area on Monday to monitor the search and rescue operations.
Marina's regional office in Iloilo City has also created a help desk to coordinate with the local government, the PCG, and the Philippine Ports Authority.
"The Marina continues to remind operators to ensure maritime safety at all times by observing the latest weather forecast, conducting proper risk assessment, and applying control measures, as needed,” the agency said in the statement. – Rappler.com