Latest Stories

Marina probe into collision starts today in Cebu City

By ,

A Special Board of Marine Inquiry (SBMI) will start its investigation today into the collision of two vessels that resulted in the sinking of MV St Thomas Aquinas which left at least 75 people dead and 45 missing.

The two captains – Rolito Gilo of Sulpicio Express Siete and Reynan Bermejo of St. Thomas Aquinas- have been summoned to appear before the board at 9 a.m. in Cebu City.

Both skippers are expected to come with lawyers provided by their companies, said Cebu Coast Guard Station Commander Weniel Azcuna.

The ship captain and chief mate of MV Trans Asia 9 were also summoned to appear because Gilo, in his marine protest, mentioned that the Trans Asia vessel had contacted him through VHF radio and requested to overtake the Sulpicio Express Siete on its starboard (right) side.

Trans-Asia may be asked why their crew were unable to help in the rescue effort after the collision.

Key issues for the inquiry will focus on how the two oncoming vessels failed to avoid each other in a narrow channel of Lawis Ledge, where shallow portions require ships to steer carefully and observe protocols about transport lanes and collision avoidance.

“These things will be clarified during the hearing,” Azcuna said.

The death toll in the sea accident stood at 75 with 45 missing persons.

Three additional bodies were recovered yesterday as technical divers continue to penetrate the vessel to look for more trapped passengers and plug bunker oil leaks in the vessel’s tanks.

The upper torso of a woman was fond floating off the coast of barangay Bangbang in Cordova town.

Azcuna said the hearings will be conducted in Cebu because the Aug. 16 accident happened here and so it’s easier for the people involved and the witnesses to appear.

Eventually, he said, the SBMI will also summon the other crew members of the two vessels, some survivors and other witnesses including the fishermen and people who first responded to the accident in Lawis Ledge off Talisay City.

“The result of the board investigation is a basis for a filing of charges of both administrative and criminal charges”, Azcuna said.

The SBMI is headed by Commodore Gilbert Rueras, commander of the Coast Guard’s Maritime Safety Services based in Manila.

Rueras and other members of the board arrived at 5:30 p.m. yesterday.

The hearing starts at 9 a.m. at the Coast Guard District Central Visayas Headquarter in Pier 3, Cebu City.

Azcuna said the board is composed of officials and legal officers from Philippine Coast Guard and Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) plus some master mariners.

The Cebu Coast Guard only served the summons but is not part of the SBMI.

He said the Cebu Coast Guard is tasked to focus on the search, rescue and retrieval operations as well as the effort to contain the oil spill.

“The board is tasked to conduct a formal investigation regarding of what transpired and what was the cause of the accident”, Azcuna said.

2GO Shipping Lines and Philippine Span Asia Carries Corp. both assured that their captains are in their custody and will appear for the investigation.

The skippers are also being monitored by the Coast Guard, said Azcuna.

“The companies will be liable for obstruction of justice if they do not produce the ship captains during the investigation,” he said.

Grant Go, Span Asia Carrier Corp. vice president, said the captain of Sulpicio Siete Express was “just staying on the ship” as instructed. The damaged vessel is docked in Pier 7.

Go said his company, the former Sulpicio Lines, is doing its own internal investigation of the mishap.

Lito Salvio, 2Go assistant vice president, said their captain is also under custody, but when pressed for details, replied that it was “confidential.”

“Rest assured that we are cooperating with Coast Guard. We are also doing our own investigation.  We will have to finish our investigation before the company decides what to do with the ship captain,” he said at a press conference.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Cebu City , collision , MV St. Thomas Aquinas

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  2. Name names, Lacson told
  3. Santiago: Enrile, Lacson, Reyes plotting massive psywar operation
  4. Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  5. Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  6. Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  9. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  10. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano


  • Roxas on suspension: I’m not above the law
  • Singaporean fined nearly $8,000 for animal cruelty
  • Pope in hot water over ‘personal’ phone calls
  • Foreign food aid drying up in North Korea
  • Cayetano to DOJ: Bare Napoles’ list of ‘pork’ officials
  • Sports

  • Guiao fined P100,000 for ‘mongoloid’ comment vs Meralco forward
  • Hawks and Grizzlies revel in home wins
  • Floyd: Manny’s power gone
  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • BDO nets P5.5 B in Q1
  • Pacquiao may be 2013 top taxpayer
  • Emperador nets P1.7 B in Q1
  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Corruption not invincible after all
  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • Global Nation

  • Plane lands at Bali airport in suspected hijacking—Indonesia air force
  • Obama lands in Seoul as N. Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Militant protests vs Obama, US set
  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Marketplace