7/17/2015

INCOMPÉTENCE OU NÉGLIGENCE ?

Un ‘ferry’’ s’est retourné à la sortie du port d’Ormoc dans la province de Leyte le deux juillet dernier.
Soixante et une personnes sont décédées.

Parler de Ferry dans le cas de ce type de navire est lui faire beaucoup d’honneur.


Il s’agit en fait d’une grosse Banca ou Bangka, une grosse barque traditionnelle Philippine, avec balanciers et entièrement réalisée en bois. Certaines de ces grosses barques sont recouvertes de fibres de verre au niveau de la coque, ceci afin de préserver cette dernière des crustacés et autres animaux marins susceptibles d’attaquer le bois.

Elles sont en général équipées de deux, parfois trois, moteurs diesels qui ont été adaptés aux conditions marines.

Les instruments sont réduits à leur plus simple expression et la plupart du temps pas un seul pour la navigation ; de jour comme de nuit l’on navigue sur les connaissances du capitaine de son secteur. Il y a souvent des miracles, mais pas toujours. Si Lourdes s’écrit de la même façon aux Philippines, la prononciation en est toutefois différente.

Si ces embarcations tiennent relativement bien la mer, il y a tout de même certaines précautions à prendre.
En cas de grosses vagues il est préférable d’attaquer ces vagues sous un angle égal ou inférieur à quarante-cinq degrés ; elles  ont également tendance à partir facilement en surf et il faut anticiper au gouvernail, faute de quoi il est très facile de se retrouver en travers des vagues, avec les conséquences qui peuvent en découler.

La petite taille des gouvernails qui équipent ce type d’embarcation pose également problème lors des demi-tours. Si les premiers quatre-vingt dix degrés se passent relativement bien, une fois en travers il est souvent difficile de poursuivre le demi-tour, surtout par fort vent. Il faut également tenir compte, lors d’un demi-tour, du couple provoqué par la rotation des hélices, ce qui n’est pas toujours évident lorsqu’il y a des obstacles.
Il semblerait qu’un mauvais arrimage, voire une mauvaise répartition de la cargaison, soit responsable de ce naufrage lors d’une tentative de demi-tour.

Police have filed multiple murder complaints against the owner and crew of a passenger ferry that capsized and left at least 59 dead in Ormoc City, an official said yesterday.
The criminal complaints were filed late Friday before the Prosecutors’ Office in Ormoc City, where M/B Kim Nirvana passenger ferry capsized, according to Chief Superintendent Asher Dolina, Eastern Visayas regional police director.


“We have already filed multiple murder charges against the owner and crew for the sinking of the boat. Inquest proceedings are now ongoing,” Dolina told the Manila Bulletin.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is also looking into the possibility that the ill-fated ferry was overloaded after realizing the discrepancy between the manifest and the number of survivors and bodies recovered.
As of yesterday morning, the death toll from the sea tragedy rose to 59, Captain Pedro Tinampay, district commander of PCG in Eastern Visayas, told a radio interview.

He placed the number of passengers who survived the maritime tragedy at 140, correcting earlier figure of 141.

The latest figure totaled 199, which was contrary to the passenger manifest that listed 194 people, including 178 passengers and 16 crew.


‘INTENT TO KILL’

An initial police investigation and interviews with survivors showed the vessel abruptly turned over in waters off the Port of Ormoc City last Thursday, causing it to capsize, Dolina told AFP.
“They were not careful, showing there was intent to kill. They were reckless on purpose,” Dolina said.
A total of 19 people were charged, including ship operator Jorge Bong Zarco, captain Warren Oliverio, and 17 crew members, Dolina said. Oliverio and 10 crew members are now detained at the Ormoc police station.

Under Philippine law, murder is punishable by up to 40 years imprisonment.
The police investigation is separate from a Coast Guard inquiry, which will primarily determine the cause of the mishap.


However, the Coast Guard may also recommend criminal and administrative charges.
“We will file the charges as soon as we could because we don’t want the suspects to leave the country,” Dolina said.


DEADLY COMBINATION

The PCG’s maritime casualty investigating team arrived the other day at the site to get a clear picture of what happened. They wanted to gather more information from Oliverio, his 16 crewmen, and passengers of the boat.

Apparently, initial investigation led them to believe that not only “human error,” but also overloading precipitated the sea tragedy.

“Most likely (overloading) since its crewmen and passengers exceeded the number of what was authorized,” Tinampay said. M/B Kim Nirvana has a passenger capacity of 178.
But Balilo clarified that probers are still determining if these two factors caused the boat’s sinking.
PCG is looking at human error as the possible cause, with reports of “faulty maneuver” by the boat’s skipper amid the big waves and a choppy sea.


OVERLOADED?

Passenger accounts, on the other hand, showed the ferry had difficulties backing out of the Ormoc City port and it overturned because it was overloaded with cargoes of cement and agricultural products.
Survivors reported seeing up to 150 sacks of cement in the ship’s cargo area before it capsized in relatively calm seas off Ormoc port last Thursday, city councilor Godiardo Ebcas told AFP.

The PCG had earlier said the 33-ton ship could carry 194 people – 178 passengers and 16 crew – but the latest count of survivors and deaths showed the ferry was carrying 199 persons.
“The ship might not be too overloaded in terms of passengers, but imagine the weight of its cargo,” Ebcas said.

Each sack of rice, cement, and fertilizer weighs 50 kilos (110 pounds), and 150 sacks would easily add 7,500 to the ship’s load, excluding passengers, he said.

Ebcas said survivors saw that the cargo, located in the ship’s lowest level, was not fastened to the floor with ropes as it should have been.

“This could have caused the weight of the ship to shift,” said Ebcas.
Search operations with rescue divers were stopped Friday before the ship was lifted to port’s berthing area.
Tinampay said the sunken ship was already brought to the surface. “Hopefully, there were no more bodies,” he said

Bloated bodies spilled out of the MB Kim Nirvana’s wooden hull as a crane lifted it from the water and placed it on Ormoc port, he said.
Ebcas confirmed reports some bodies were washed to the shore in a neighboring municipality.


POORLY MAINTAINED BOATS

Poorly maintained, loosely-regulated ferries form the backbone of maritime travel in the Philippines, a sprawling archipelago of 100 million people.

Many sea disasters occur during the typhoon season, which starts in June.

Frequent accidents in recent decades have claimed thousands of lives, including the world’s worst peacetime maritime disaster in 1987 when the Doña Paz ferry collided with an oil tanker, leaving more than 4,300 dead.


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