Operations of firms in Cebu ship collision suspended

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Volunteers search near the bow-damaged cargo ship Sulpicio Express Siete Saturday Aug.17, 2013, a day after it collided with a passenger ferry off the waters of Talisay city, Cebu province in central Philippines. Divers combed through a sunken ferry Saturday to retrieve the bodies of more than 200 people still missing from an overnight collision with a cargo vessel near the central Philippine port of Cebu that sent passengers jumping into the ocean and leaving many others trapped. At least 28 were confirmed dead and hundreds rescued. The captain of the ferry MV Thomas Aquinas, which was approaching the port late Friday, ordered the ship abandoned when it began listing and then sank just minutes after collision with the MV Sulpicio Express, coast guard deputy chief Rear Adm. Luis Tuason said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines—Maritime authorities on Saturday suspended the operations of two shipping lines whose vessels collided off Talisay City in Cebu.

Maximo Mejia, chief of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), said in a press conference Saturday afternoon that  all its regional offices were ordered to conduct immediate inspection of all vessels of 2GO Travel and Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. (formerly known as Sulpicio Lines).

The MV St. Thomas Aquinas of 2GO Travel was carrying 831 people when it collided with MV Sulpicio Express Siete of Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. Friday night.

Mejia said the ships would be grounded and could only sail after passing maritime safety inspections.

He said that while the some of their ships were still out at sea, they “will be immediately inspected as soon as they arrive in port.”

Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said MARINA and the Board of Marine Inquiry would investigate sea tragedy.

Related stories:

40 dead, 172 missing as two ships collide

History of ferry disasters in the Philippines

Navy suspends underwater search in Cebu sea mishap

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