Jun 162013
In the wake of Friday’s sinking of a roll-on roll-off vessel off Masbate, the Maritime Industry Authority is considering stricter policies on passenger manifests, even if the vessel involved is not overloaded.

Marina head Maximo Mejia Jr. said Monday the failure of Medallion Transport to properly list passengers on its manifest has caused problems for the Coast Guard and other agencies searching for survivors.

“Kailangan tingnan ng Marina ng masusi ang policy na ‘yan. Paano natin mapupuwersa ang shipping companies na dapat magbigay ng complete manifest?,” Mejia said in an interview on dzBB radio.

Last Friday, the MV Lady of Carmel sank off Masbate amid good weather. As of Monday morning, the death toll remained at two, while at least seven remained missing.

Citing reports reaching him, Mejia said many of the people who were rescued were not on the ship’s manifest.

Also, he said that of the seven missing, some are not on the manifest but whose relatives insisted were aboard the vessel.

“Hindi ito lumalabas na overloading, pero ang malaking problema diyan, ngayon naghuhula tayo. Sino ang hinahanap natin?” he said.

Mejia reiterated Medallion Transport, the owner of the ill-fated vessel, may face cancellation of its franchise should an investigation warrant it.

But he said the company’s record had so far been okay.

For his part, Medallion Transport spokesman Ricardo Labial Jr. maintained the vessel’s crew was not remiss in its duties.

“Kinausap namin. Wala talagang pabaya na nangyari,” he said in a separate interview on dzBB. —KG, GMA News

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