Off the coast of Sibuyan Island in the Philippines, the underside of the sunken M/V Princess of the Stars rises above the waters in an ominous fashion. Still inside the vessel, bodies lay lifelessly, waiting to be excavated from their watery grave. Above ground, other bodies washed ashore in neighboring islands are being retrieved and buried by authorities, as they prepare to refloat the vessel and extract even more cadavers from the floating coffin, as well as remove toxic chemicals in its cargo hold.
While it looks as if Sulpicio Lines, the shipowner of the capsized vessel, is handling the situation gracefully, it has actually left the mourning loved ones of those who perished in the maritime tragedy annoyed and irritated. It is quite evident that Sulpicio has, as this write-up says, “put business above humanity” and money above life. Despite the fact that authorities are still not sure about who is to blame for the capsizing of Princess of the Stars, the negligence of Sulpicio’s management is indeed a possible factor.
And when you take into account the past misfortunes Sulpicio has encountered at sea, such as the M/V Doña Paz incident in 1987, the shipowner’s credibility shrinks even more.
Should we really be willing to take such risks anymore? Sulpicio’s track record for keeping its ships afloat isn’t so good. Wikipedia says (emphasis mine):
[Sulpicio Lines] is famous in the Philippines and around the world for owning and operating the vessel MV Doña Paz, which figured in the worst maritime disaster during peace time in December 20, 1987 where 4,375 people lost their lives when the ship struck an oil tanker (M/T Vector) in the Philippines. Throughout the company’s history, its vessels have figured in four major maritime disasters, killing a total of more than 5,300 passengers and crew members.
That, coupled with how crappily and greedily Sulpicio is handling the situation it is in right now, should be enough to raise more than a few eyebrows.
I believe that the families of those who perished in the incident should be compensated at least ?200,000, and promptly so. I believe that whoever is responsible for this tragedy—be it Sulpicio or the government, or Del Monte or your neighbor’s cousin’s sister’s friend—pay the consequences of their negligence.
Should we as a nation and our government fail to take the proper steps to prevent this kind of maritime disaster from happening again, more lives will be lost and more shame for the country. At this point, no one can afford to take risks anymore.
Stop Sulpicio Lines.
P.S. This is the first time I’ve ever participated in a blogswarm. It was my pleasure to contribute to this. The capsizing of the Princess of the Stars is really tragic, and I am only thankful that I was not on that vessel during its final voyage. Link to the blogswarm post