3 motor bancas in Butuan suspended following sea mishap

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 June) – Three motor bancas plying the Butuan-Magallanes route in Agusan del Norte that belong to the owner of the ill-fated banca that submerged last Saturday have been ordered suspended by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).

One passenger was killed while another was wounded when MBCA Jay A, with 68 passengers, submerged off the coast of Magallanes town Saturday afternoon.

MARINA regional director Emmanuel Carpio, in an order dated June 12, ordered the three motor bancas – namely, the MBCA Joshua Bryan, MBCA Princess Ericka and MBCA Kimberly – to immediately cease and desist their operations.

These motor bancas, including the one that submerged last Saturday, are owned by Eleonor Gajano of Magallanes town.

Last Saturday, MBCA Jay A left Butuan for Magallanes at 4:30 p.m. After an hour of its voyage when it was about to dock at Magallanes Port, the boat encountered a big wave, causing the passengers to panic.

“When they panicked, the passengers ran towards the rear part of the boat causing it to submerge,” said boat captain Manuel Bastil in his protest filed before the MARINA-Caraga office last Monday.

The mishap took the life of 14-year-old girl Cindy Villanueva and injuring Mirasol Makiling, who was confined at a hospital. Both are from Magallanes.

MARINA has ordered the suspension of the professional license and seafarer’s identification book of Bastil, as well as that of marine diesel mechanic Eusebio Donan.

This morning MARINA officials conducted a hearing in Butuan City on the issue of revoking or not the certificate of public conveniences of the ill-fated boat.

But there has been no progress report yet on the results of the hearing, according to MARINA-Caraga regional information officer Rhea Tamparong.