MARINA probes personnel over sinking of MT Princess Empress

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has launched an investigation into several personnel for potential administrative liability in relation to the sinking of MT Princess Empress.

During a media briefing held on Friday, Atty. Sharon Aledo, MARINA spokesperson and legal service director, said that the maritime authority is currently examining personnel for potential administrative violations related to the issuance of statutory certificates for MT Princess Empress.

The inquiry is based on the findings of the fact-finding team previously formed by the agency.

Aledo emphasized that the investigation will encompass the vessel’s construction, as well as the issuance of registration and safety certificates, following a thorough process.

“If the RDC fails to file an appeal within 15 days from the revocation on May 11, the decision will become final and immediately executory, resulting in the revocation of the CPC,” Aledo said.

RDC refers to Reield Marine Services, Inc. (RDC), the shipping company that owns and operates the MT Princess Empress.

The investigation report has been submitted to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the MARINA Anti-Graft and Corruption Committee.

This action follows the revocation of the Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) of RDC by MARINA-National Capital Region.

A Senate inquiry conducted on March 14 revealed that the sunken ship had no updated permit to operate.

Aledo also highlighted that the shipping company is currently prohibited from operating due to a cease-and-desist order.

Apart from the CPC revocation, RDC may face a fine of P100,000 once the decision becomes final and executory for operating without the necessary authority.

The MARINA investigation aligns with the directive of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista to hold individuals accountable and reflects the Department’s policy of zero tolerance towards shortcuts, official negligence, and disregard for rules.

Oil tanker MT Princess Empress sank off the coast of Oriental Mindoro while carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel oil on February 28, causing a massive oil spill.

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