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VACC mulling raps vs Sulpicio Lines over sea mishap

June 23, 2008 10:46am
MANILA, Philippines – For “repeatedly and habitually committing a crime," an anti-crime and corruption group on Monday morning called the Sulpicio Lines Inc a "recidivist," and threatened to file charges against the shipping line.

Dante Jimenez, chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), said said aside from lodging charges against the 35-year-old shipping company, his group is also eyeing to have the license to operate of the Sulpicio Lines revoked.

Pinag-aaralan po ng aming mga abogado kung paano po makakasuhan ito at matanggalan ng lisensya (Our lwyers are studying what charges we can file against the company and how we can have its license revoked)," Jimenez said.

The fate of many passengers aboard the capsized ship remains unclear but Mayor Nanette Tansingco of San Fernando on Sibuyan island had earlier said that at least four bodies were found being washed ashore where the ferry has run aground.

As of this posting, Coast Guard officials continue to rescue passengers from the vessel, which left Manila on Friday evening carrying 700 people.

Jimenez said they are mulling to take appropriate actions because the capsizing of MV Princess of Stars is already the fourth major sea disaster involving a Sulpicio Lines-owned passenger vessel.

Ang Sulpicio Lines ay dapat na po talagang tanggalan ng lisensya dahil sa pagiging paulit-ulit na pangyayari sa mga barkong ito kung saan maraming namatay (The license of Sulpicio Lines should already be revoked because to a number of sea mishaps it got involved in where many people have died)," Jimenez said.

In December 1987, MV Doña Paz sank after colliding with an oil tanker between Marinduque and Oriental Mindoro. With more than 4,341 people being killed, the sea tragedy was the worst ferry disaster and the worst peacetime maritime disaster in the world.

A year later, around 300 passengers were also killed when another Sulpicio-owned vessel, MV Doña Marilyn, sank off the coast of Camotes Island in Eastern Visayas.

Before the MV Princess of Stars incident, the latest sea tragedy involving a Sulpicio vessel was in 1998 when Sulpicio’s MV Princess of the Orient capsized off the coast of Batangas province in September 1998, leaving at least 70 people dead and 80 other missing.

Transportation Sec. Leando Mendoza has earlier ordered the grounding of all Sulpicio Lines vessels, pending the conduct of an audit of the ships’ seaworthiness.

According to the National Disaster Coordinating Council, typhoon Frank has already caused the death of 94 people. Some 99,687 families have also been affected by the typhoon, which continue to move toward the Southern China.

For its part, the Philippine National Red Cross was able to record 229 typhoon-related deaths. - Mark Merueñas, GMANews.TV
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