EDITORIAL - Fire in the water

The Freeman

It has happened yet again; another inter-island ferry figured in an accident that placed lives at risk and gave another black eye to our transport system.

Yesterday morning the MV Esperanza Star caught fire on its way from Lazi in Siquijor to Tagbilaran in Bohol. It was carrying 120 passengers and crew on board when the accident happened.

All of them are safe and have been brought to Tagbilaran City, according to the Coast Guard.

The fire on board was put out around 10 a.m. yesterday, but as of this writing the cause has not been determined. 

What were the most recent incidents involving ships bursting into flames in our waters again? The last was March 2023, when the Lady Mary Joy 3 caught fire as it was travelling from Zamboanga City to Jolo, Sulu; at least 12 people were confirmed dead.

Last August, the MV Asia Philippines, heading to Batangas from Calapan, caught fire. Forty-nine passengers and 38 crew survived the incident.

Last June 2022 the MV Mama Mary Cloe, also caught fire en route to Bato, Leyte, from Ubay, Bohol. All 165 passengers and crew on board survived.

Just a month before that incident, seven people were killed and 24 others injured after a fire engulfed the MV Mercraft 2 as it was about to dock in Real, Quezon, after leaving Polillo Island.

Ships travel on water, but some seem to spontaneously combust quite easily. The frequency with which these incidents are happening is also no longer comfortable, leading us to conclude that there are sectors that still aren’t doing their part where safety at sea is concerned.

There needs to be more action on the part of authorities to make sure ships are indeed seaworthy, on the part of ship owners to make sure their vessels are safe, and even on the part of the traveling public to make sure they don’t take unnecessary risks or engage in reckless or unsafe behavior.

Needless to say, heads must roll for this latest incident.

We are sure this won’t be the last time we will write about another ship bursting into flames, but the best thing we can do is make sure those incidents become fewer and farther in between.

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