Ormoc Ferry tragedy blamed on misloading

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 Officials from the Maritime Industry Authority, Department of Transportation and Coast Guard wait for their turn to be questioned by lawmakers investigating the sinking of MB Kim Nirvana. PHOTO BY MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

Officials from the Maritime Industry Authority, Department of Transportation and Coast Guard wait for their turn to be questioned by lawmakers investigating the sinking of MB Kim Nirvana. PHOTO BY MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

Misloading, not overloading, was the cause of the sinking of MB Nirvana off Ormoc that left at least 62 people dead, according to the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).

Marina chief Maximo Mejia, Jr. said there was no overloading of passengers even if the vessel was carrying more than 200 people, more than its allowed passenger capacity of 178 people.

“There was no overloading as such in terms of weight. There was misloading on part of owner or operator,” Mejia told congressmen investigating the accident.

The vessel was also carrying 100 sacks of rice and 100 bags of cement.


“M/V Kim Nirvana was not overloaded in spite of more than 20 extra passengers. It could carry 100 tons. It had 50 tons that day. Even if 178 carabaos were on board, the boat would not sink,” Mejia said.

But Muntinlupa City Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, former Chief of the Armed Forces, did not buy Marina’s argument.

The main factor is the load. When you load the cargo topside, the center of gravity goes up, the stability of boat is affected. But I cannot accept that for a boat designed for 170 passengers, you would load more than 200 [people]plus cargo,” Biazon said.

Mejia admitted that Marina phased out wooden-hulled vessels like MB Nirvana but circular 190 issued in 2003 revoked such policy.

“Marina decided to phase out wooden-hull vessels but was instructed to defer it as it would be uneconomical and disruptive,” he added.

The Nirvana tragedy resulted in the grounding of all wooden hull vessels.

According to Philippine Insurers and Reinsurers Associate officer Michael Rellosa, the families of those who perished will receive P200,000 in insurance but passengers who were not in the manifest will not receive any benefit.

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2 Comments

  1. hugh williams famero on

    it is overloaded. The approved capacity of passengers to be carried is 170 Which for sure from marina because they are the ones to determine this throught their calculations. If the load of kim nirvana is more than 200 then it is overloaded. There are Regulations of carrying life saving equipments such as life jackets for the total passenger capacity. This means that there is no assigned lifejacket for passenger number 171 onwards

  2. Michael B. Cuanzon on

    Experience does tell a lot. The assessment of Dr. Mejia in the congressional hearing is one born of too long experience in the classroom instead of the competence required by the STCW on the line job in shipping management. Dr. Mejia should have asked the Master Mariners at the STCW office of Marina to attend such a hearing with questions which would be practically down their alley.
    Cong. Biazon was right in “not buy Marina’s argument.”