Floating coffins? Villanueva seeks probe into latest Basilan ferry mishap 

Are Philippine passenger ships/vessels serve practically as floating coffins because of their lack of safety?

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva asked this following the death of 29 passengers when fire struck M/V Lady Mary Joy 3 off Basilan en route to Sulu from Zamboanga last Wednesday night.

This tragedy brings back memories of neglect and problems corruption in the enforcement of safety of seagoing vessels, he noted.

"With these tragic events, it seems that we are backsliding from the reforms in maritime safety," Villanueva said.

Villanueva said he would soon file a resolution to look into how the concerned agencies, especially the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), are strictly enforcing rules on seaworthiness, safety requirements, and manning compliance of the vessel.

"We also would like to know how the Department of Labor and Employment ensures compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Standards Act, how regular are OSH inspections conducted on domestic shipping vessels including compliance with labor standards,"  he pointed out.

"We urge the authorities to continue their search and rescue efforts for the missing passengers,"  he added. More than 200 passengers were rescued.

"The fire in the M/V Lady Mary Joy 3 en route to  Basilan is preventable had everyone - ship owner, crew, PCG and MARINA been diligent in ensuring safe voyage and value the life of passengers onboard,’’ Villanueva said.