The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Central Visayas urged motorbanca operators to refrain from ferrying passengers if they lacked clearance from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).
This came after motorbanca Poseidon 2 capsized off the waters of Naga City in Cebu province.
Lt. Junior Grade Michael John Encina, spokesperson of PCG-7, said Poseidon 2 encountered strong winds and big waves shortly after it departed the shoreline of Tuyan village in Naga City around 400 meters from the PCG Naga Station.
All 24 passengers and the boat captain of Poseidon 2, Jonnie Montero, were rescued and accounted for by the PCG Naga personnel, he said.
Encina identified the passengers as Mark Recto, 13; Marivic Recto, 15; Catherine Montero, 15; Janelle Montero, 13; Sheinalie Dihayco, 16; Ryan Villanueva, 15; Genzalo Villarmea, 31; Diana Mae Pagubo, 30; Nathalie Villarmea, 10; Michille Dihayco, 15; Joseph Recto, 42; Maries Villarmea, 34; Mark Joseph Recto, 2; Jhonnie Montero, 33; Maricel Montero, 33; Samantha Montero, 7; Jon Gabrielle Montero, 6; Bryle Biais, 14; Remark Biais, 16; Joel Montero, 28; Lance Montero, 30; Ismael Villarmea, 21; Noli Villarmea, 26; Neil Villarmea, 24, who are all from Tuyan.
Encina, however, said Poseidon 2 is not registered with MARINA in Central Visayas as a passenger motorbanca.
“Hindi po namamasada itong banca na ito. Hindi po natin papayagan sapagkat in the first place, wala po siyang certificate of safety that should be cleared with MARINA. Ang mga ganito na klase na banca ay hindi pampasahero na banca (This motorbanca is not commercial passenger vessel. We will not allow them for in the first place, it has no certificate of safety that should be cleared with MARINA as passenger motorbanca),” he said in a radio interview.
The motorbanca is registered before the City of Naga as a sea craft that is only permitted to carry seven to eight persons, including the operator. It has no registration with MARINA for passenger operation.
He urged motorbanca owners to seek Coast Guard clearance before departing so that they can check on the safety requirements, such as life vests enough for all the passengers and crew and monitoring equipment, apart from the communication gadget and direct contact from the crew to the PCG station.
The PCG in Naga City is now investigating the incident to determine the liabilities of the owner of Poseidon 2. (PNA)