Cargo boat in Surigao mishap unauthorized to operate – Marina

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/20 April) — A cargo boat that lost its balance when hit by big waves off Surigao City last Friday and had to be towed by another vessel was not authorized to operate, an official said.

Maria Roselyn P. Castano, officer-in-charge of Marine Industry Authority (Marina) said the vessel M/B JJBA owned by a certain Willian Gemina sailed without the required documents.

Castano said M/B JJBA left Surigao City on Friday for Dapa town in Siargao Island carrying cargoes such as rice, plywood and grocery items, but lost its balance when hit by big waves.

She said sea water entered the boat. All the crew members were rescued.

The official said she was waiting for a marine protest from the boat operator and its skipper.

But she maintained the boat should have not been allowed to operate saying its papers remained “under review and it’s still the on process.”

“We haven’t yet issued a certificate on public convenience for tramping to this boat,”

She said the boat owner had applied for the certificate but upon Marina’s inspection it was found to have problems on safety including unstable balance.

Geoffrey Gervo, station commander of Philippine Coast Guard refused to give information on the boat mishap.

He instead ordered his subordinates to answer questions from MindaNews.

Some Coast Guard personnel admitted that they cleared the boat for its voyage on Friday.

“We were surprised to see that it was being towed by another cargo boat,” one of them who asked not to be named said. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)