Press Release
June 23, 2008

Senate to Open Probe On MV Princess of the Stars Sea Tragedy

Senator Rodolfo G Biazon today filed a Senate resolution recommending that the Senate Committee on Public Services and other appropriate committees conduct a legislative inquiry on the sinking of the MV Princess of the Stars which may have led to the death of more than seven hundred people to prevent other such disasters from happening.

"The delineation of functions, responsibilities and authorities among the - Philippine Coast Guard, the MARINA and the Philippine Ports relative to who should give the clearance for the ship to sail should be reviewed and clarified."

"All three agencies are tasked to set vessel standards, check the sea worthiness of the vessels through rigid inspections not only of the vessels in its entirety, but also with special emphasis on the navigational and safety equipments. Who gave the go signal to sail?"

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security who has been conducting hearings on disaster preparedness asked, "How come clearance was given to the MV Princess of the Stars at 8:30 in the evening knowing well that the sea lane to be traversed by the ship is right smack in the middle of the path of the Signal No. 3 typhoon?"

"Even if it was a Signal No. 1 level in Manila, the location where the MV Princess of the Stars is supposed to go to had already been on a Signal No. 3 alert status."

"Ironically, at 11pm, the clearance for the MV Princess of the Stars was withdrawn, knowing that the vessel would meet head on the typhoon."

Biazon would also like to be appraised on, "Why did the engine conk out? Is the report true that the lashings of the cargo were broken? If that happens, then it will cause the boat to tilt. It will destabilize the vessel."

Biazon said the sinking of the MV Princess of the Stars is Sulpicio Line's worst sea disaster following what happened to their MV Dona Paz which collided with M/T Vector tanker in 1987 resulting to the death of 4, 341 people.

"The same shipping company was involved in similar tragedies such as the sinking of the MV Dona Marilyn in 1988, the capsizing of the MV Princess of the Orient in 1998 and the MV Princess of the World catching fire at sea in 2005."

"Ours is an archipelagic country heavily relying on sea transport for personal travels, trade and commerce. In addition to determining the liability of the shipping company involved, it is necessary to review how the Philippine Coast Guard, MARINA and the Philippine Port Authority are implementing the law which mandated them collectively and individually to ensure the Safety of the Life at Sea (SOLAS) guidelines are strictly enforced, "Biazon concluded.

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