Fastcraft can’t sail for now
May B. Miasco/JMO (The Freeman) - March 12, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The fastcraft that rammed the berth area of Pier 1 in Cebu City last Tuesday morning can no longer travel, at least for now, after the Maritime Industry Authority suspended its Passenger Ship Safety Certificate.

Marina served the suspension order against M/V St. Sealthiel last Tuesday afternoon.

Lawyer Jose Cabatingan III, head of the Maritime Legal Affairs Section of Marina 7, said the order was issued ahead of the receipt of the Marine Protest, which states the accounts of the vessel’s captain.

“The notice of suspension given to the shipping company was served at around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and that took effect immediately. Only the particular vessel involved in the incident was suspended,” he said.

Engr. Jesus Quiño, Marine Ship Safety inspector, recommended the suspension of the certificate after preliminary investigation.

The suspension may be lifted after the vessel is inspected upon request of the shipping company.

“For the suspension order (to be lifted), the shipping company should notify MARINA for reinspection,” Cabatingan said.

At least 21 passengers, including three crew members, were injured in Tuesday’s incident.

Cabatingan clarified that the vessel is being operated by Supercat Fast Ferry Inc. and not 2GO shipping.

The officer in command at that time, Capt. Florito Norman Teves, submitted the marine protest two hours after the suspension order was served.

Teves said the vessel departed Tagbilaran Port for Cebu City on March 10 at 6:30 a.m.

At 8:15 a.m., normal procedure was reportedly executed by checking all maneuvering controls, astern and steering controls, and that all controls was ‘satisfactorily in good working condition’.

Two minutes after, he maneuvered the vessel for docking at Pier 1. While proceeding for docking with the vessel on a slow pace, he reportedly stopped the engine to reduce force onward.

“Due to strong (sea) current on that area, I applied propulsion to completely stop the momentum of the vessel but I noticed that (there was) no response on the astern propulsion. Hence because of the momentum, the vessel collided at Pier 1 rump area causing damage on her port,” Teves said.

He said the weather was ‘good’ and the sea was ‘calm.’

Cabatingan said Teves is still subject of investigation to determine if he committed errors in handling the vessel.

The 242 gross ton passenger vessel, which was manned by 11 officers and crew, carried 119 passengers at that time.

Based on the verification by the Coast Guard, the fastcraft was maneuvering to dock when there was a ‘throttle malfunction,’ which caused the vessel to accidentally ram into the berth area.

The vessel was transferred to Pier 4 where it was inspected by Marina before it was moved to the Colorado shipyard in Barangay Tayud, Consolacion town for repair. — (FREEMAN)

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