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Cebu News

SBMI submits report; cases may be filed in court soon

AJ de la Torre - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Special Board of Marine Inquiry (SBMI) has submitted their report to higher officials in relation to the investigation they made on the collision of MV Saint Thomas Aquinas and MV Sulpicio Express Siete.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Cebu Station Commander Weniel Azcuna confirmed that based on the recent report that they received, the SBMI already turned over their report to the Board of Marine Inquiry.

The report would then be reviewed by the commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard who would then submit it to the Department of Communication and Transportation (DOTC).

Azcuna said the final report would be published and then cases may be filed against those who will be found accountable for the collision.

“May probability,” replied Azcuna to The Freeman, when asked if the PCG and the DOTC would take legal action based on the recommendations of the SBMI and BMI.

He also added that the passengers who survived the collision, as well as the families of the casualties, may also file cases using the findings of the SBMI’s investigation.

The SBMI started its investigation last August 23 and initially invited captains of both the sunken MV Saint Thomas Aquinas and the cargo vessel, MV Sulpicio Express Siete. The captain of Trans Asia Nine, which was reportedly in the area as well prior the collision was also called before the SBMI.

Apart from the three, crew members of both ships, passengers and other witnesses were also called to give their testimonies of what transpired last August 16 in the seas of Lauis Ledge, Talisay City, Cebu.

The SBMI was given two weeks by President Benigno Aquino III to come up with a report on the collision that already killed more than 100 people with 21 more missing.

Meanwhile, Azcuna said the siphoning of the remaining oil in the ill-fated MV Saint Thomas Aquinas is almost done and they are targeting it to be finished this week.

He explained that all 11 tanks of the ship have already been emptied while another four holes have been drilled in other parts of the ship where oil is located.

Azcuna said they will be meeting today with other members of the Incident Command Team to discuss if retrieval operations will push through.

The retrieval operations for the remaining missing passengers and crew members were halted when the siphoning started. —(FREEMAN)

AZCUNA

BOARD OF MARINE INQUIRY

CEBU STATION COMMANDER WENIEL AZCUNA

DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION AND TRANSPORTATION

INCIDENT COMMAND TEAM

LAUIS LEDGE

PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD

PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO

SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS

SBMI

SULPICIO EXPRESS SIETE

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