Shipping firm apologizes for deadly Basilan ferry blaze, extends aid to victims’ kin
MANILA, Philippines — The management of Aleson Shipping Lines Inc., which owns the ill-fated ferry that caught fire off Basilan, has apologized for the tragedy which resulted in the death of at least 29 people.
Bound for Sulu, the ferry MV Lady Mary Joy 3 carried 205 passengers and 35 crew members when it caught fire.
“We are deeply saddened and shocked over this tragic incident that has resulted in the loss of precious human lives. There are no words to describe the pain of losing a loved one and our hearts go out to the families, friends and relatives whom they left behind. We cannot apologize enough and we are profoundly sorry for the misery this incident has caused to many of us,” the shipping line’s management said in a statement on Friday.
The company said that in its 47 years of operations, it has never had a tragedy like this.
“As we continue to cooperate with the authorities in investigating the real cause of the fire, we sincerely offer our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved and prayers for the dear departed. We have given out financial assistance to those in need and affected in the meantime,” it added.
The Philippine Coast Guard on Friday reported that seven people are still missing and search and rescue operations are ongoing.
The tragedy has prompted calls from Congress to reevaluate sea travel safety rules and regulation.
Sen. Grace Poe, in a previous statement, has even renewed her call for the creation of an independent transport safety board.
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