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Solar I captain ‘sleeping’ as vessel sank — crew

September 8, 2006

By Tetch Torres

A CREWMAN of the M/T Solar I admitted that their captain, Norberto Aguro, was sleeping when the vessel began sinking off Guimaras Island on August 11.

Pump man Jesse Angeling also identified Hiroyasu Yamaguchi as the owner of Sunshine of Maritime Development Corporation (SMDC), contrary to the Japanese national’s denial.

The sinking of the tanker, which had been chartered by Petron Corporation to haul more than two million liters of bunker fuel, triggered one of the worst oil spills in the country’s history.

Angeling told the Department of Justice’ Task Force Guimaras that it is normal for crewmen and ship captains to take a “siesta” while sailing if there is not too much work to be done.

He said Aguro was awakened by his auxiliary captain when the vessel was already listing badly.

Angeling also admitted that the ship took on water twice. The first time, he said, they had to dock in Iloilo to pump the water out.

But when asked if they checked the ship’s hull and repaired any holes after that, he said, “No.”

When Angeling’s turn to be grilled by the panel came, he was immediately asked if he knew Yamaguchi who was preparing to leave the DoJ.

Angeling identified Yamaguchi as “may-ari po (he is the owner)” of SMDC.

(For the full story, click Sleeping, Sept. 8, 2006.)

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