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.

  • High spirits battle: Asia tycoons vie for cognac maker Louis Royer

    * Louis Royer valued at about $150 mln - sources * Suntory selling cognac maker as part of portfolio reshuffle * Asia cognac demand seen rising 13 pct in 2015-19 -Euromonitor By Denny Thomas and Khettiya Jittapong HONG KONG/BANGKOK, May 30 (Reuters) - Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is considering buying cognac maker Louis Royer, people familiar with the matter said, potentially locking horns with a Philippine tycoon for the French firm amid a forecast rebound in Asian demand for …

  • OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF
    OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF

    The Philippine government is asking the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to finally complete the tripartite review process of the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The review – snagged  for several years as government had its hands full with the peace process with rival faction Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – tackles how the 1996 peace pact with the MNLF has been implemented and centers on the three remaining …

  • Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe
    Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe

    Eight of the resource persons ordered arrested by the Senate finally attended the 21st public hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee into the alleged anomalies involving Vice President Jejomar Binay, but the proceedings turned out to be a review of matters previously presented. For over three hours, the subcommittee heard presentations regarding the alleged hidden assets of Binay and the issue regarding the supposed P200 million in kickbacks he received from a deal between the Boy …

  • DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe
    DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is wrapping up its investigation into the “massacre” of 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A joint team of prosecutors and NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) investigators is about to finish the second part,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has told congressmen. She was responding to questions raised by former senior police officer and now Rep. Samuel Pagdilao of party-list …

  • APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism
    APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism

    BALANGA CITY, Bataan – More than 2,000 delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and international media outfits are expected to enjoy the splendid coastline of Bagac town, which faces the West Philippine Sea, as they converge for a workshop in this province next month. …

  • DOST opens P54-M research facility
    DOST opens P54-M research facility

    A P54-million research and development facility of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was recently opened in Bicutan, Taguig for scientists and researchers to develop technology and techniques to allow Filipino fashion and clothing designers and manufacturers to produce more mainstream products from local, tropical fabrics like piña, banana and abaca. Science Secretary Mario Montejo said the Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles (ICYT) is the DOST’s flagship effort at reviving …

  • DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights
    DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights

    Philippine embassy officials in Doha have raised their concern with Qatari authorities over coercion and human rights violations in the alleged forcing of three Filipino workers convicted of spying to provide information and confess to the crime. Speaking to reporters, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose yesterday said the embassy has raised the matter during several high-level meetings with Qatari officials and the national human rights committee in Qatar. “Our embassy …

  • US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl
    US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl

    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that Washington’s pledge to defend the Pacific nation remains “ironclad” and called for an end to land reclamation in the South China Sea, officials said. In talks in Hawaii with Voltaire Gazmin, Philippine secretary of national defense, the Pentagon chief “reaffirmed” the strong ties between the two countries and discussed territorial disputes in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has been …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options