PCG bars cadets on ships during typhoons
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - March 19, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Do not allow cadets or students to report for their on-the-job training (OJT) on board a ship during typhoons.

This was one of the Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) recommendations in the investigation on the sinking of the M/V Starlite Atlantic at the height of a typhoon late last year, in which a female cadet died and 18 other crewmembers and cadets remain missing, to prevent a repeat of the incident.

In a 20-page report, the Special Board of Marine Inquiry (SBMI) asked for a review of the existing regulations regarding ship cadets and for the formulation of a policy barring cadets on board ships during inclement weather.

Thirty-three people were on board the 1,407.45-gross-ton roll-on, roll-off M/V Starlite Atlantic when the passenger and cargo ship sank off Culebra Island in Batangas on the morning of Dec. 26, 2016, amid forceful winds and high waves triggered by Typhoon Nina.

Of the 33, there were 12 officers and regular crewmembers and 21 cadets, 14 of whom were rescued, according to the PCG. One fatality was identified as deck cadet Lyka Banayal.

Of the 18 still missing, the PCG said only seven were officers and crew while the remaining 11 were students on OJT.

The SBMI earlier said the purpose of its investigation was not to file criminal charges against those responsible for the maritime incident, but to improve regulations and procedures to avert a repeat of the incident.        

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