Sulpicio Lines


Sulpicio Lines

Sulpicio Lines is a shipping line in the Philippines. It is famous in the Philippines and around the world for owning and operating the vessel MV Doña Paz, which figured in the worst maritime disaster during peace time in December 20, 1987 where 4,375 people lost their lives when the ship struck an oil tanker (M/T Vector) in the Philippines. Throughout the company's history, its vessels have figured in four major maritime disasters, killing a total of more than 5,300 passengers and crew members.

Maritime disasters

Maritime disasters involving Sulpicio Lines include MV "Doña Paz" on December 20 1987, MV "Doña Marilyn" in 1988, MV "Princess of the Orient" on September 18 1998, and MV "Princess of the Stars" on June 22 2008. The latter three were caused by the vessels setting sail during violent weather conditions. [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/23/asia/typhoon.php Herald Tribune news report] ] .

Sulpicio Lines currently holds the world record for the worst peacetime maritime disaster due to the sinking MV Doña Paz which killed approximately 4,375 people in the Philippines, dwarfing the death toll of the RMS Titanic of 1,517. [ [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_accidents_and_disasters_by_death_toll List of accidents and disasters by death toll] ] . The company also holds the record for the highest death toll of any shipping line in the world killing more than approximately 5,300.

Judgment

Citing "Caltex v Sulpicio" jurisprudence, the Supreme Court of the Philippines, on July 24, 2008, absolved Caltex Philippines (now Chevron) from any liability in the collision between MV Doña Paz and MT Vector. In a 12-page judgment, Antonio Nachura (3rd Division) opined: “We have meticulously reviewed the records of the case and found no reason to depart from the (CA) rule. We cannot turn a blind eye to this gruesome maritime tragedy which is now a dark page in our nation's history." Vector was ordered to reimburse and indemnify Sulpicio Lines Php 800,000.00, the total amount due the Macasa family whose kin were among the passengers of MV Doña Paz (GR No. 160219, Vector Shipping Corp. v. Macasa, July 21, 2008). [ [http://www.gmanews.tv/story/109102/SC-absolves-Caltex-in-MV-Do&ntildea-Paz-tragedy gmanews.tv/story, SC absolves Caltex in MV Doña Paz tragedy] ] In Caltex Philippines, Inc. v. Sulpicio Lines, the Court ruled that "MT Vector was unseaworthy at the time of the accident and that its negligence was the cause of the collision that led to the sinking of the Sulpicio vessel." [ [http://www.supremecourt.gov.ph/news/courtnews%20flash/2008/07/07250801.php supremecourt.gov.ph, Vector Shipping Ordered to Pay Sulpicio Lines for 1987 Maritime Tragedy] ]

Legal controversies

Despite figuring in three major maritime disasters in the span of 11 years (from 1987 to 1998) and killing more than 4,500 people, the company Sulpicio Lines was never held liable by the Philippine courts. Sulpicio Lines is also known for heavily overloading its ships as evidenced by the MV "Doña Paz" disaster which only 1,500 people appeared in the ship's manifest out of the 4,500 passengers and crew.

As a result, Sulpicio Lines has been referred to in the press as "Perwisyo Lines" or [http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/editorial/view/20080626-144761/Suspicious-lines "Suspicious Lines"] .

In the latest incident involving the shipping company, it has just forged a contract with the intetrnational firm Titan Salvage to undertake the retrival of highly toxic cargo contracted by a multinational company with enaged in pineapple trade.

A report by the giant TV network ABS-CBN details the latest development:

Sulpicio Lines has signed a contract with a salvage company to retrieve the toxic chemical cargo inside the capsized M/V Princess of the Stars.

In a text message to ABS-CBN News, Sulpicio Lines vice-president for marketing Jordan Go said that they have signed a $7.55-million contract with Titan Salvage Corporation to recover the chemical shipment owned by Del Monte Philippines and Bayer CropScience.

Go said the multi-million dollar deal between the company and Titan was signed between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday at Traders Hotel in Manila.

Sulpicio Lines was represented by the company's first vice-president Edgar Go, while commercial manager Amit Wahi came for Titan.

According to the contract, Titan will undertake the removal of the toxic cargo, which includes the endosulfan shipment of Del Monte and four different chemicals owned by Bayer.

Go added that the removal process of the chemicals would take 30 days, and before that there will be an initial mobilization period that could last two to three weeks.

During the initial mobilization period, equipment to be used in the salvaging of the chemicals, which will come from the United States and Singapore, will be set up.

Task Force Princess of the Stars chief and Transportation Undersecretary Elena Bautista was informed of the details after the contract signing, Go added.

Toxic cargo removal a 'priority'

"As we committed to the DOTC and Congress, we are proceeding with the priority removal of Del Monte and Bayer's misdeclared cargo without quibbling about the legalities. Our foremost concern is to defuse the environmental time bomb. After this, equally urgent will be the retrieval by divers of bodies of the victims still inside our ill-fated ship," Edgar Go said in a statement released Thursday evening.

Go said Sulpicio signed up Titan Salvage '"as soon as we could after completing a prudent assessment of its capability and salvage plans."

"We are also shouldering the high cost of extracting the toxic cargo despite our well-founded claim that Del Monte should pay for the cost of safely removing it from the waters of Romblon," he said, adding that "at the proper time and legal venue, we are confident the concerned parties will be made accountable for their actions."

"The DOTC, led by Task Force Princess head Undersecretary Ma. Elena Bautista, helped us evaluate and negotiate with Titan Salvage," he said.

The company also said Titan would also remove the remaining bunker oil in the ship simultaneously with the cargo removal. The final step, the statement said, would be the removal of the shipwreck from the waters off Romblon.

MV Princess of the Stars Investigation

BMI final report

The 5-member Philippines Board of Marine Inquiry, in its 65-page report dated August 25, 2008 (submitted to the Maritime Industry Authority or Marina), found Sulpicio Lines and its captain liable for the MV Princess of the Stars June 21 maritime tragedy. The BMI recommended that Marina “consider the suspension of the Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) of Sulpicio Lines in accordance with existing laws, rules and regulations (and its criminal liability for the sinking." The final report blamed human error, and ruled that the ship's missing and presumed dead captain, Florencio Marimon, "miscalculated" the risk of continuing the trip to Cebu while the storm raged: "There was a failure of the master to exercise extraordinary diligence and good seamanship thereby committing an error of judgment.The immediate cause of the capsizing of MV Princess of the Stars was the failure of the Master to exercise extraordinary diligence and good seamanship thereby committing an error of judgment that brought MV Princess of the Stars in harm's way into the eye of typhoon Frank or Typhoon Fengshen (2008). It is found negligent for its failure to exercise its duty in ensuring that they transport passengers and cargo safely to (their) destination.”

Sulpicio said 52 survived the tragedy and 312 bodies were recovered of 825 passengers listed. The rest were declared missing and presumed dead. Sulpicio may appeal within 30 days, the Board's recommendation to the Maritime Industry Authority (Philippines) and the Department of Transportation. Meanwhile, cargoes of 5 toxic pesticides and other poisonous substances are still on board the ferry and will be refloated on September. [ [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5j4iXf1A25QEfFtGkgE_Z1nEse8yw afp.google.com, Probe blames captain, company for Philippines ferry disaster] ] [ [http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/08/27/2348363.htm?section=justin www.abc.net.au/news, Human error to blame in Philippines ferry disaster: inquiry] ] [ [http://www.manila-shimbun.com/category/english/news180172.html manila-shimbun.com, Panel blames ship captain, Sulpicio Linees officials for ferry sinking] ] [ [http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssConsumerGoodsAndRetailNews/idUSMAN22254620080827 reuters.com/article, PRESS DIGEST - Philippine newspapers - August 27] ] [ [http://www.gmanews.tv/story/116375/Sulpicio-bucks-BMI-findings-on-Princess-tragedy gmanews.tv/story, Sulpicio bucks BMI findings on ‘Princess’ tragedy] ] Sulpicio Lines, the 2nd largest cargo carrier in the Philippines, accounts for 40% of all cargo movement across the country. [ [http://globalnation.inquirer.net/cebudailynews/news/view/20080827-157097/License-for-suspension globalnation.inquirer.net, ‘License for suspension’] ]

Docking ports and vessels

Sulpicio Lines' main ports of call are the cities of Manila and Cebu. Other ports of call are the cities of Baybay, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Catbalogan, Cotabato, Davao, Dipolog, Dumaguete, General Santos, Iligan, Iloilo, Maasin, Masbate, Ormoc, Ozamiz, Puerto Princesa, Surigao, Tacloban, Tagbilaran and Zamboanga. It also include the towns of Calubian, Coron, Estancia, Jagna, Nasipit, Naval and Palompon.

Its vessels are:

* [http://www.wakanatsu.com/philippine/photo/c-p.html Cagayan Princess]
* [http://www.wakanatsu.com/philippine/photo/cebuprincess.html Cebu Princess]
* [http://www.wakanatsu.com/philippine/photo/cotabatoprincess.html Cotabato Princess]
* [http://www.wakanatsu.com/philippine/photo/dipologp.html Dipolog Princess]
* [http://www.wakanatsu.com/philippine/photo/filipinaprincess.html Filipina Princess]
* [http://www.wakanatsu.com/philippine/photo/palawan-p.html Palawan Princess]
* [http://www.wakanatsu.com/philippine/photo/princessoftheparadise.html Princess Of Paradise]
* [http://www.wakanatsu.com/philippine/photo/princessofcarribean.html Princess Of The Carribean]
* [http://www.wakanatsu.com/philippine/photo/princessoftheearth.html Princess Of The Earth]
* [http://www.wakanatsu.com/philippine/photo/princessoftheocean.html Princess Of The Ocean]
* [http://www.wakanatsu.com/philippine/photo/princessofthesouth.html Princess Of The South]
* [http://www.wakanatsu.com/philippine/photo/princessofthestars.html Princess Of The Stars]
* [http://www.wakanatsu.com/philippine/photo/princessoftheuniverse.html Princess Of The Universe]
* [http://www.wakanatsu.com/philippine/photo/taclobanprincess.html Tacloban Princess]

References

Links

* [http://www.sulpiciolines.com/ Sulpicio Lines Website]


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