Iloilo-Guimaras boat trips resume after sea mishap
ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Philippines — Motorboat trips between Guimaras Island and Iloilo City were allowed to resume on Tuesday, 10 days after three boats capsized in Iloilo Strait and left 31 people dead.
A directive issued by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and implemented by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) on Tuesday lifted the suspension subject to conditions.
Travel will be allowed only during fair weather with each motorboat required to carry up to only 75 percent of its passenger capacity.
Tarpaulin serving as roof to protect boat passengers from sunlight or rain will be removed or rolled down during the 15-minute trip each way. The tarps are believed to be among the reasons why the boats flipped over when these were hit by strong gusts of wind and waves.
The Marina also directed the compulsory wearing of life vests during the duration of the travel.
Trips were suspended on Aug. 3 after two motorboats capsized on their way to Jordan town in Guimaras from Iloilo City. Another motorboat sailing to Iloilo City from Buenavista, Guimaras, capsized that afternoon.
Thirty-one passengers of the motorboats Chi-Chi and Jenny Vince died in the accidents.
Tugade earlier said the trips could resume but wooden hull boats plying the route should be phased out and replaced with boats with aluminum or fiberglass hulls.
Guimaras Gov. Samuel Gumarin had appealed to the national government to allow the resumption of trips due to the suspension’s impact on the province’s economy.
A limited number of ferries and fast craft were deployed to transport passengers to and from Guimaras during the suspension, but these were not enough to accommodate around 10,000 passengers daily. —Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.