Police will inspect at least 50 boats owned by members of the Association of boat owners in Lapu-Lapu City next week.
Supt. Virgil Ranes, deputy director for operations of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office, said they will meet with the boat operators and check their boats if they were equipped with life-saving equipment.
Ranes, who is also the head of the Tourist Police in Lapu-Lapu City, said they will report any boat, which had no life-saving equipment to the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) for any sanction on the boat owner since this would fall on their jurisdiction.
“This is to remind the boat operators to always think first of the safety of their passengers. It’s very shameful to know that we still have boats not complying with the laws of the sea, og walay mahitabo dili ta molihok (if nothing happens and we would do anything about it).” said Mayor Paz Radaza, who asked the Tourist Police and Task Force Kalikasan to look into reports that the motorized boat that capsized last Monday off the waters of Caubian Island didn’t have life-saving equipment.
Radaza said that police should help encourage boat owners to comply with Marina requirements to equip their motorized passenger boats with life-saving equipment such as life vests to ensure the safety of their passengers and prevent tragedies at sea.
Last Monday, a motorized passenger boat with 12 passengers and three boatmen capsized off Caubian after the boat was battered by big waves.
The passengers include four social workers and five police officers heading for Caubian Island from barangay Caw-oy in Olango Island.
The social workers were set to hold a seminar about the Pantawid Pampamilya program of the government in Caubian when the accident happened.
When the boat capsized, all the passengers and the boatmen held on to the boat and floated for more than an hour before they were rescued at noon by fishermen from Bohol province.
no life vests
All the passengers belongings were damaged or lost in the accident.
Police said they found out that the boat didn’t have life vests and they were checking if the boat had the necessary permits to operate./Correspondent NOrman V. Mendoza