SENATOR Aquilino Pimentel 3rd wants the Senate to investigate the sea mishap involving the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas and Sulpicio Express 7, which killed at least 97 people.
Pimentel said he will file a resolution calling for an inquiry into the disaster amid calls from the United Filipino Seafarers President Nelson Ramirez for the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to revoke Sulpicio’s franchise and forbid any of its ships from sailing.
Ramirez said Sulpicio has had a history of accidents, mostly caused by incompetent crew.
“One of the requirements set by the Marina was for the Sulpicio Lines to have an insurance protection for the passengers,” Ramirez recalled, referring to the sinking of MV Princess of the Stars in 2008, killing 437 of its passengers. “They should no longer be allowed to sail, even with a new name. They should not be given a franchise after these accidents and deaths,” he added.
Kabataan Party-list Rep. Tery Ridon, who earlier vowed to file a motion at the House of Representives for an investigation of the accident, said the franchise should be
“Sulpicio’s franchise should be canceled. They cannot hide behind the corporate veil
of a supposed new corporation,” he said.
Sulpicio Lines has been involved in at least five maritime accidents, the first of which is the sinking of M/V Dona Paz on December 20, 1987, killing 4,375 people.
A year later, the M/V Dona Marilyn also sank, killing 77 people.
On September 18, 1998, 70 passengers of MV Princess of the Orient died when the
boat sank at the height of a typhoon.
On the other hand, 437 fatalities were recorded when MV Princess of the Stars sank on June 21, 2008. Marina suspended Sulpicio’s franchise. The company later changed its name to Philippines Span Asia Carrier Corporation.