Governor Hilario P. Davide III was thankful to the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) 7 for granting his request that the investigation and hearings of the Special Board of Marine Inquiry regarding the recent sea mishap be held in Cebu City.
The governor informed that MARINA acceded to their request. The investigation started last August 23 held at the office of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Central Visayas in Cebu City. Davide’s letter was addressed to MARINA 7 Director Nanette Villamor-Dinopol and was received also on August 23.
Davide said the province has an interest to know the outcome of the investigation. The accident, involving passenger ferry MV Saint Thomas Aquinas and cargo vessel Sulpcio Express Siete in Lawis Ledge, Talisay City, killed innocent lives and affected the livelihood of thousands of fisher folks of Talisay City, Mandaue City and Cordova.
It caused an oil spill which contaminated the territorial waters of the affected areas and threatened its marine life. Davide said it was also beneficial to the parties in interest including some of the victims and their families not to fly anymore to Manila for the hearing while they are here in Cebu.
A representative of the province of Cebu through its Provincial Legal Office was also accommodated as an observer in the investigation.
Meanwhile, the governor also stated that PCG Central Visayas Commander Commodore William Melad has no intention yet to refloat the passenger ferry MV Saint Thomas Aquinas that sank following the accident.
He explained that there are still people inside and oil leakage continued to flow from the ship. The divers were also having difficulty to penetrate the compartments of the vessel because of the debris that blocked the passage ways.
The governor further said that the divers were also delayed because of the changing sea condition and strong current underwater. “It is not easy as some people may think ba nga usahay dali-dalion…Pero dili uy… We cannot compromise the safety of the divers. The longest time the technical divers can stay underneath is only 30 minutes,” he said. (Xerxes Alkuino)