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Aquinas victims to get insurance in 2 months

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Families of those who died in the August 16 sinking of the MV St. Thomas Aquinas won’t have to wait too long for the insurance proceeds from the management of 2GO Travel.

An official of 2GO said that the usual one year waiting period has been waived and relatives could get the insurance package in two months.

“We have agreed with the insurance company to shorten the waiting period for the release of the insurance money to victims of the accident,” said Boy Mundo, general manager of 2GO Supercat.

Relatives of fatalities will receive P200,000 insurance as mandated by law.

“But if they availed of the P20 additional Supersure Insurance from 2GO, there will be an additional P100,000,” Mundo added.

The shipping firm is giving P20,000 for burial assistance. Those insured by Supersure are entitled to another P40,000.

Passengers who suffered permanent disability are entitled P100,000.

Those injured are entitled to P50,000 for medical expenses. Those who availed of the Supersure Insurance will get an additional P60,000.

The management of 2GO earlier distributed P5,000 to victims and relatives of casualties and missing as initial financial assistance.

“We have already given the P5,000 assistance to 842 victims and relatives for a total of P4,210,000,” Mundo said.

Another P6,000 was given as compensation for lost baggage of passengers. 2GO paid out P3,540,000 to 590 passengers.

The company spent P2,250,000 for the hospital expenses of 72 victims while P3 million was given as funeral assistance to relatives of 50 casualties.

The company also spent P190,000 for the shipping of the identified bodies.

Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes manager Bong Ebo said they have already shipped 67 of the identified casualties to their relatives while three bodies which have already been identified still remain in Cosmopolitan per request of their families.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said he is amenable to stopping the retrieval operations because it was too risky for divers to penetrate remaining parts of the ill-fated ship.

As of yesterday, there were 115 listed as dead and 22 missing .

Ebo is requesting permission from Cebu City to build a dormitory-type niche for unidentified cadavers in Carreta Public Cemetery.

Approval, however, is still pending as Cebu city mayor Michael Rama is due to arrive from Taiwan today.

The unidentified remains will be in marked graves so that they may be exhumed later and released to their families when DNA tests are finished.

Salvaging

Meanwhile the joint team of the Malayan Towage and Salvage Corp. (MTSC) and the Nippon Salvage is set to siphon the remaining oil from the sunken MV St. Thomas Aquinas.

Noel Kimmayong, marine superintendent of MTSC yesterday showed a video of the drilling operations on the tanks.

“Since September 9 until 11, we have drilled five out of the eleven tanks in the vessel. Two have been found to be empty,” Kimmayong said.

Although they still don’t have an estimate as to how much oil still remains in the vessel, Kimmayong said that the pump that will siphon the oil has a capacity to suck 5-10 tons per hour.

Actual siphoning is expected to be done within 8-12 days.

MV St. Thomas Aquinas sank in Lauis Ledge off the coast of Talisay City on August 16 after colliding with the Sulpicio Express Siete of the Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp.

The ill-fated ship was about dock in the port of Cebu for a stopover enroute to Manila. It originated from the port of Nasipit in Agusan del Norte.

Over 700 passengers and crew survived the accident.


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