Frasco mulls legislative intervention on RoRo incident on Camotes Island
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Fifth District Representative Duke Frasco is planning to draft a bill that would regulate roll-on roll-off (RoRo) ships to ensure the safety of both passengers and cargo.
This he said during a congressional fact finding inquiry on the listing of a Jomaila cargo ship in Consuelo Port on Camotes Island on August 31, 2019, which was caused by the wrong stowing of cargo into the ship.
Frasco initiated the inquiry, which was held on Saturday, September 14, at the Cebu Country Club in Barangay Banilad, Cebu City, to investigate the incident and why the ship sank on its starboard side.
The Philippine Coastguard in Central Visayas (PCG-7) said that contrary to initial reports that the ship was overloaded, the reason for the listing was actually the wrong placement of the cargo.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Michael Encina, the spokesperson of PCG-7, said that one of the cargoes, a ten-wheeler truck, was placed leaning to the starboard side instead of being properly balanced at the center of the vessel’s cargo hold.
Another truck was also placed leaning on the port side to balance the other truck. The cause of the listing was the snapping of the moore or the rope holding the truck and the eventual slipping of the truck to the starboard side.
Frasco said this was not the first time a similar incident occurred involving a Jomaila vessel, still on Camotes Island. In 2012, he recalled, a Jomaila RoRo ship also listed on its side because of a loaded cargo truck, although it did not sink.
The congressman said Jomaila has to improve its safety measures because this is sowing fear among the travellers and tourists heading to Camotes Island.
“Ang ako lang kaduha na man gud ni nahitabo. Unsaon nalang if sa sunod naa na gyud mamatay?” said Frasco.
(This is the second time this happened. What if next this happened, someone will die?)
The Maritime Industry Authority in Central Visayas (Marina-7) has suspended the operations of Jomaila Shipping for the duration of administrative hearing it is conducting on the incident.
Jomaila representatives said the captain and crew of the RoRo vessel that listed and sank have only been working on the ship for two months prior to the incident.
Liloan Mayor Christina Frasco, on the other hand, believed that Jomaila might have committed safety lapses since its crew were not able to check prior to the trip that there was a problem with how the cargo was placed inside its vessel.
She said the shipping company must implement additional measures to ensure the safety of its passengers and cargoes before its vessels should be allowed to set sail again.
Congressman Frasco, the husband of Christina, added his was considering a proposed bill that would regulate the age of ships being allowed to carry passengers in the country.
He said the incident on Camotes Island was a wake up call for legislators to think of ways to make marine travels safer for every Filipino. /elb
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