Our world’s waters – for all of its beauty and importance, for all that we as humanity have traversed so many of its ways so regularly – remain a dangerous place. One wrong move, one missed step, a stroke of bad luck or a moment of neglect, can mean the difference between life and death. This is especially true of vessels that carry a lot of passengers from one destination to another, where a problem can become exponentially worse because of the potentially high volume of casualties. We have seen awful tragedies befall vessels like cruise ships and ferries, for example.
Earlier this year, the International Maritime Organization held a conference that covered, in particular, ferry safety (see related article, “The International Maritime Org’s Ferry Safety Conference, 2015”). The conference was held in Manila, Philippines. Just months later, however, the Southeast Asian country would be hit by a devastating ferry tragedy that would claim the lives of over 60 people.
The MB Kim Nirvana was just 200 metres from port in Leyte, a province in the Philippines, and reportedly sailing in calm seas, when it capsized. Survivors were either able to cling upon the vessel’s overturned hull, swim to land, or were saved from the water by nearby boats from fishermen and the coast guard. The vessel, a 33-tonne, canoe-style, commercial boat with an engine, was carrying over 200 people on board at the time of the accident. Over 60 people are said to have died.
The cause of the tragedy is under investigation. Among possible reasons for the capsizing are navigational error, overcrowding, poorly-maintained equipment, or even high winds and waves.
In the wake of this disaster, murder charges have been filed against the owner and crew of the Kim Nirvana-B. The Philippine Coast Guard district commander for the affected area was also reassigned, in order to avoid the impression of possible whitewashing during the investigation. The country’s House of Representatives is also conducting an inquiry on the incident.
Ferries are an essential mode of transport for goods and people in an archipelago like the Philippines, which has over 7,000 islands. The country has unfortunately seen a large number of ferry tragedies, however, including a 1987 accident that left over 4,000 people dead.
We at Kemplon Engineering are one with the maritime community in expressing our condolences for the families and friends of those lost in this terrible disaster. We hope that the investigations will soon yield answers that can bring justice for those lost, peace for those whom they left behind, and ultimately create measures to prevent the tragedy from happening again.
Our company is very serious about safety issues, and other news that occur in the industries that we serve. For more articles like the one you have just read, and other maritime industry-related developments, check out our blog, which is frequently updated.
Kemplon Engineering serves marine and industrial customers, providing a wide range of engineering services– on time and on budget – since 2005. From welding and fabrication, precision machining, pipe fitting, laser cutting, and more, we have a wide lineup of capabilities and a very committed staff ready to bring solutions and life to your projects and ideas. You may reach us at email@example.com, or by phone at (877) 522-6526.
^ “At least 50 dead as five more bodies pulled from capsized Philippine ferry.” The Guardian, 04 Jul 2015. Web. 11 Jul 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/04/at-least-50-dead-as-five-more-bodies-pulled-from-capsized-philippine-ferry
^ Crone, Jack. “At least 38 people killed and 33 still missing after ferry carrying nearly 200 people capsizes in the Philippines.” Mail Online, 02 Jul 2015. Web. 11 Jul 2015. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3146913/At-36-people-killed-19-missing-ferry-carrying-173-people-capsizes-Philippines.html
^ “Philippines Ferry Owner and Crew Charged with Murder.” World Maritime News, 06 Jul 2015. Web. 11 Jul 2015. http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/165711/philippines-ferry-owner-and-crew-charged-with-murder/
^ “Philippines ferry sinking: Kim Nirvana owner on murder charge.” BBC, 04 Jul 2015. Web. 11 Jul 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-33393858
^ Romero, Paolo. “Coast Guard officer relieved over ferry disaster.” The Philippine Star, 08 Jul 2015. Web. 11 Jul 2015. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/07/08/1474562/coast-guard-officer-relieved-over-ferry-disaster
^ “[Updated] Philippine Ferry Death Toll Rises.” The Maritime Executive, 03 Jul 2015. Web. 11 Jul 2015. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/philippine-ferry-death-toll-rises