Sinking Ships And Stolen Lives: Another Sulpicio Liines Tragedy
Rack up another one for the notorious Sulpicio Lines.
Filipinos are waking up this morning to yet another gut-wenching tragedy: the sinking of another inter-island ferry owned by MV Dona Paz owner Sulpicio Lines. The boat, MV Princess of the Stars capsized after developing engine trouble in the stormy waters off the marble-rich island of Romblon. The toll thus far: 700 feared dead.
We all remember the sinking of Sulpicio Lines’ MV Dona Paz after colliding with a tanker in December 1987 is considered the world’s worst ferry disaster and the worst peace-time maritime disaster in history with the official death count at 1,565.
Survivors claim the overloaded ferry carried up to 4,000. In October 24, 1988, the sinking of still another of Sulpicio Lines ferry, the MV Doña Marilyn reportedly killed over 600 people.
TV newscasts are blaring out the angry voice of President Gloria Macapagal arroyo berating the head of the coast guard for allowing the boat to leave port despite inclement weather. Mrs. Arroyo was calling from Fresno, California, the first stop of her “working” official visit to the United States.
An inauspicious start for the trip.
The now customary apology, incredible as it is, has come from Sulpicio Lines with the hollow promise to help the victims. No comfort.
To this day, some 20 years ago, the damage claims of many of the earlier victims in the MV Dona Paz and MV dONA Marilyn tragedies are locked in court.
One wonders how and why a shipping company with this record continues to operate given its dubious tradition of sinking ships, and stealing the lives of it hapless passengers.
They are left only to light candles and wail. In other countries people would have long expressed outrage by putting such firms to the torch.