The provincial government of Sarangani’s multimillion damage claims over the grounding of a foreign cargo vessel at a portion of a critical reef along the Sarangani Bay has received a major boost following the official admission by the ship’s captain that human error has indeed triggered the May 8 incident.
Sarangani Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez said late Monday that M/V Double Prosperity’s Filipino skipper Danilo Sta. Ana admitted before the Philippine Coast Guard’s Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI) in Davao City that the vessel accidentally ran into the Bacud reef following their miscalculation of its position.
“There was an admission from the ship’s captain that they tried to move closer to the mainland that time to establish stable cellphone signals,” the governor said.
Dominguez said the initial admission has firmed their bid to seek damage claims with the owners of the Panama-registered vessel, which remained stuck at the Bacud reef located 2.5 miles off the coasts Kiamba town in Sarangani as of Tuesday.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) earlier pegged the damage to the reef at P42 million.
The vessel, which is carrying 65,900 metric tons of coal, originated from Australia and was en route to India when it ran aground into the reef before noon last May 8.
M/V Double Prosperity is owned by Tanagra Shipping, S.A.
The reef, which is about 2.5 miles from the shores of Kiamba town, is part of Sarangani Bay’s protected marine sanctuaries based on Presidential Proclamation 756.
During the opening of the BMI investigation in Davao City on Monday, Dominguez said the local government presented evidences regarding the cause of the mishap and the extent of the damage wrought by the vessel on the reef.