No clearance to sail for cargo ship that hit Mabaw Reef; operator liable for damages

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No clearance to sail for cargo ship that hit Mabaw Reef; operator liable for damages

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M/V Seaborne 7, the cargo vessel that ran aground in Mabaw Reef last Thursday has temporarily been suspended from shipping operations pending certification of its seaworthiness from the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).

Meanwhile, Seaborne Shipping Lines Inc., the operator of the cargo ship could be held to pay for damage it caused to Mabaw Reef, a marine sanctuary and protected area that is a source of livelihood for locals who guide tourists visiting the site to dive or snorkel.

Lt. Patrick John Cabasag, commander of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Bohol, told dyRD Balita that as of Friday morning, MV Seaborne 7 remains “at anchor” in Tagbilaran City Port while inter-agency investigations are being conducted by the PCG, Marina, the Tagbilaran City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) and the Office of the City Agriculturist (OCA), that is assessing the extent of damage to the reef.

According to Cabasag, the ship cannot sail until the Marina will certify its seaworthiness. An inspection of the vessel has been conducted for any damage it may have sustained after hitting the reef.

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On the other hand, Tagbilaran CDRRMO head Gerard Labadia said during an interview with dyRD Balita that based on their findings, the cargo ship caused damage to around 200,000 square meters of the reef, or about one-fourth of the reef’s total area of 800,000 square meters.

Labadia however explained the extent of this damage assessment is only based on surface-level observation and they still await the depth inspection conducted by the OCA to ascertain the extent of liability to be slapped against the operator of MV Seaborne 7.

“No amount of money can compensate for the irreparable damage to the reef not to mention the loss of income on those whose livelihood depends on the overall health of the reef,” Labadia said.

The CDRRMO has recommended for the closure of Mabaw Reef following the incident in order to facilitate the regeneration of the damaged section. (KB, RT)

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