Opinion: All about negligence

Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/aNN) - It goes without saying that negligence towards safety regulations and precautions and lack of proper supervision will lead to accidents. That is what has happened in the incidents of the three boats sinking in three separate locations over the past week. It is feared that there may have been hundreds of fatalities.

While bad weather and high waves have often been the most frequent excuse for such maritime accidents, passenger overload has apparently been the primary cause of sinking boats. The first boat to sink was a 25-meter-long wooden boat that capsized after being hit by 4-meter waves in Prigi waters, Trenggalek, East Java, on its way to Australia on the evening of Dec. 17. Only 47 people of around 250 asylum seekers on board - the majority from Iran and Afghanistan, but including a few Arabs and Turks - are known to have survived. The boat was built for just 100 passengers.

A second incident involved a speedboat that sank off the Ambon Bay on its way to the Ambon city center, Maluku province, on Wednesday afternoon. Fortunately, no fatalities were reported as all 27 passengers were immediately rescued by other speedboats operating in the area. It is true that sea waves in Maluku waters have been between 2-4 meters high as of late; conditions dangerous for sea travel. Yet, the fact that the speedboat sailed with 27 passengers, or twice its capacity, has only added to the risks of sinking in already dangerous sea conditions.

The third incident involved a ship that sank on its way from Saumlaki Port in Ambon to Seira village, Wermaksian subdistrict, also on Wednesday afternoon. There is no final confirmation on the status of the 100 passengers on board the capsized ship, as so far only four passengers have been found dead and rescuers are still looking for the others. It has also yet to be reported whether the ship was overcrowded during its sail, while waves were reported to be 3-6 meters high.

The last three boat incidents have only added to the already long list of such maritime incidents since January this year. Data at the Transportation Ministry reported that as of October 2011 there had been 150 fatalities in 139 sea accidents, 45 cases of which involved sinking vessels.

Probes of such cases have been and will always be long and complicated as they involve multiple interrelated parties. Whatever their causes, however, the accidents must have occurred due to negligence on the part of the boat/ship owner and/or operator and the passengers when regarding safety regulations and precautions.

Take the incident off Ambon as an example. Let us say the ship was not overcrowded, but the ship operator and the passengers should have realized the dangers of the high waves at the first place and reconsidered their schedules.

The sinking speedboat incident off the Ambon Bay and the sinking boat in Trenggalek - whatever the different motives that had led to their eventual sail - were a blatant example of negligence toward safety concerns. Not only had they violated basic sea travel regulations on the maximum allowable number of passengers on board, they also ignored safety guidelines on sea travel, including weather conditions and the availability of safety and rescue equipment.

The last three boating incidents were not the first, as we have seen numerous such cases before. The question is why such incidents have repeatedly reoccurred. Haven't we had enough or learned anything at all?


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused
    Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused

    The Sandiganbayan has allowed a government official, accused with plunder along with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to undergo a medical procedure at a hospital tomorrow. The anti-graft court permitted former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Benigno Aguas to undergo a cardiopulmonary/endocrine clearance at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. …

  • Appeal for convicted Pinay in Indonesia continues – Palace

    The Aquino government is doing everything possible to save a Filipina facing execution in Indonesia for drug smuggling, a Palace official said yesterday.Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government was moving within Indonesia’s legal framework to spare Mary Jane Veloso from death.Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario continues to exhaust all legal avenues to save Veloso from execution, Valte said.The Indonesian Supreme Court on Wednesday denied the government’s …

  • Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy
    Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy

    The Sandiganbayan has recommended executive clemency for a former Philippine ambassador to Nigeria who was sentenced to 52 years for malversation of public funds. The Sandiganbayan First Division found Masaranga Umpa guilty of misusing the Assistance-To-Nationals Stand-by Funds totaling $80,478.80 in 2007, but the anti-graft court said the former assemblyman from Lanao del Norte should be pardoned. …

  • Bulacan, Bataan are top Lenten destinations

    MALOLOS, Bulacan – With the expected Holy Week exodus of Catholic devotees to various pilgrimage sites in Bulacan, Bataan and other provinces near Metro Manila, local and provincial officials have coordinated with security and emergency response teams to address the influx of visitors.Among the pilgrimage sites in Bulacan that are often visited by travelers are the Divine Mercy Shrine in the town of Marilao; the procession of saints in Baliwag; the Banal na Bundok with the Stations of the Cross …

  • Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour
    Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour

    It was a night of stargazing in 58 SM Supermalls all over the country last night as these establishments participated in Earth Hour, an annual worldwide movement encouraging communities and establishments to switch off lights for one hour to raise global awareness of overuse of non-renewable resources. The Philippines has been an active participant of Earth Hour since 2008. Last night, in the province of Bulacan, for instance, all parishes, diocesan institutions, schools and household …

  • Payanig privatization hit
    Payanig privatization hit

    BLEMP Commercial of the Philippines, Inc. (BLEMP) denounced the recent announcement of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to privatize the 18.4-hectare “Payanig sa Pasig” property. In a statement sent to The STAR , BLEMP lawyer Dennis Manalo said the PCGG has no right to auction the property because it has no valid title and is not in possession. The PCGG has not paid a single centavo in real property taxes for the property, he said. He narrated that it was in the early …

  • New species of tarantula found
    New species of tarantula found

    Scientists from the Museum of Natural History (MNH) of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños have discovered a new species of cave-dwelling tarantula on an island off the coast of Quezon. The new species of the spider, Phlogiellus kwebaburdeos, was described in the recent issue of the Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology by MNH curators for spiders Aimee Lynn Dupo and Alberto Barrion along with their former student Joseph Rasalan. The tarantula was discovered by Rasalan during …

  • Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others
    Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others

    As Christendom enters Holy Week today, Palm Sunday, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called on the faithful not to add to the sufferings of their fellowmen. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), said that while Palm Sunday is oftentimes remembered as the glorious arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, it also signals the start of the Holy Week that tells of His suffering, death and …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options