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Marina urged: Expedite inspection of vessels

Suspension to affect tourism, trade in Bantayan towns

Bantayan and Capitol officials voiced concern over the suspension of Island Express Shipping Corp. and called on the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to speed up its investigation in last Sunday’s ferry sinking.

The appeal came after the company confirmed that they closed operations after receiving the Marina order yesterday afternoon.

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“We immediately ordered all vessels to return to port,” company official Alex Tan said.

Tan said three of their vessels—the LCT Island II, Island Roro I and Super Island Express II—were inspected yesterday afternoon.

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“We’ll comply with the Marina’s requirements. I’m confident that our vessels will pass inspection,” Tan said.

Tan said the MV Island Express Fastcraft 1, which sank off the coast of barangay Tangke, Talisay City, in Cebu at 2 p.m. last Sunday, wasn’t overloaded since it only had 65 passengers and it has a passenger capacity of 126 persons.

He said life vests were attached to each of their seats.

In Bantayan town, Vice Mayor Geralyn Escario Cañares said the municipal council passed a resolution asking Marina to speed up the inspection of Island Shipping Corp.’s fleet.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia echoed a similar appeal, saying Island Shipping Corp.’s suspension will significantly affect delivery of cargoes and produce in Cebu.

Cañares said Bantayan Island’s three towns—Bantayan, Sta. Fe and Madridejos—all rely on the services of Island Express Shipping Corp. and another shipping firm that ply the Hagnaya-Sta. Fe route daily.

He said 10-wheeler and six-wheeler trucks from Cebu City to Bantayan Island travel the Hangnaya-Sta. Fe route, delivering rice, canned goods, drinks and other supplies to the three towns.

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Cañares said Bantayan Island delivers hogs and other poultry products to mainland Cebu.

He said Island Express Shipping Corp. had five vessels plying the route compared to the three vessels of the second company.

Canares said Marina should realize that the five vessels plying the Bantayan route are roll-on, roll-off (roro) cargo vessels while the ferry that sank last Sunday was a passenger vessel.

In yesterday’s press conference, Garcia said sea traffic in Cebu’s northern area will be affected with Island Express Shipping Corp.’s suspension.

“There already is heavy traffic between the Cebu mainland to Bantayan because Bantayan has seen this upsurge of tourists and even special investors. The suspension will impact negatively on Bantayan’s three towns,” she said.

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TAGS: Maritime Accidents, Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), Maritime Transportation
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