June 23, 2008
Philippines suspends ferry line's RO/RO operations
The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) of the Philippines has ordered Sulpicio Lines to suspend RO/RO passenger vessel operations following the loss of the Princess of the Stars.
The ship reportedly suffered engine trouble and was battered by huge waves generated by Typhoon Fengshen (referred to as Typhoon Frank in the Philippines), causing it to capsize on Saturday evening.
Thus far there are only 32 confirmed survivors out of the 845 people on the ship, one of whom is a crew member. There are 12 confirmed casualties, with nine more unconfirmed casualties reported.
According to local media reports, the suspension order does not initially include the lines' pure cargo RO/RO's, which will be allowed to discharge their current cargos. There will then be a complete suspension as MARINA inspects all the company's ships.
Meantime, the Philippines Bureau of Maritime Inquiry is investigating the circumstances of the loss of the Princess of the Stars.
MARINA Administrator Vicente Suazo Jr. Mendoza has appointed Undersecretary for Maritime Transportation Maria Elena H. Bautista as head of Task Force Princess Star, to coordinate intensive search and rescue, recovery, relief and rehabilitation operations. As part of that effort divers have been deployed to open the hull and penetrate the capsized vessel.