Tanker owner defends ship captain

August 30, 2006

THE owner of the sunken M/T Solar 1 on Wednesday defended the vessel’s captain before the Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI), saying that Norberto Aguro is a “qualified master mariner,” ABS-CBN News reported.

This developed as officials of the company will be included in the Bureau of Immigration’s watch list.

Clemente Cancio of Sunshine Maritime Development Corp. (SMDC) said oil tankers are much safer and easier to handle than vessels hauling chemicals. The company hired Aguro since he was an expert in manning chemical tankers, he added.

BMI questioned why 20 crewmen were aboard the vessel when it was limited to 16.

Cancio replied by saying that Petron Corp., the company that chartered Solar 1, required at least two surveyors for the cruise. The Solar 1 came from Limay, Bataan and was scheduled to bring its cargo of bunker oil to Mindanao when it sank off Guimaras.

Meanwhile, ANC News reported that the hold-order came from the Department of Justice that said officials of SMDC should be placed on the bureau’s list of people who are at risk of fleeing an ongoing government probe.

Dionision Z. Parulan, Gregorio M. Flores, Clemente GR. Cancio, Mototsugu Yamaguchi, Hiroyasu Yamaguchi, Tomoki Tsubomoto, Hiromi Irishika, Roberto D. Mena, Angelita S. Buenaventura have been put on the list for possible violations of the Clean Water Act, Domestic Philippine Act, Revised Penal Code, Brown Environmental Law, and the Anti-Dummy Law, Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said records of the Articles of Incorporation and other records of the SMDC showed that majority of the incorporators of the company were Japanese.

At the same time, the task force created by Gonzalez has summoned Cancio; Nicasio Alcantara, chairman of Petron; Capt. Aguro; Vice Admiral Arthur Gosingan, Philippine Coast Guard Chief; and the crew of M/T Solar I – Herminio Renger, radioman; Jesse Angel, pumpman; Reynaldo Torio and Victorio Morados, oilers, to appear before the Department of Justice (DoJ) on Monday at 2 p.m.

(Click ABS-CBN News and INQ7.net for the full stories.)

INTERESTING how fast the DOJ and Immigration bureau issued the hold-departure order in the Guimaras oil spill case, when both agencies turned the other way when a hold-departure order was being requested to prevent Jocjoc “fertilizer scam” Bolante from leaving the country during an ongoing Senate investigation.

Consistent rules and procedures is what this country needs not fools in the government.


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