Conflicting figures are just “variance”
CEBU, Philippines — The conflicting number of people onboard Lite Ferry 16 when the fire incident happened is considered variance, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)-7 Spokesperson Lieutenant JG Michael Encina said.
Last Tuesday, the number of people onboard the Lite Ferry 16 that caught fire three nautical miles away from Dapitan had 231 passengers and 38 crew members.
The shipping firm then submitted a supplemental manifest that indicated 65 more passengers. In total, Lite Ferry 16 carried 239 people when it left the port in Samboan, Cebu.
Encina said that, upon checking and coordinating with the shipping lines, initial investigation results showed that the vessel wasn’t overloaded, however, the numbers of the passengers were verified.
The total number of passengers onboard was 201, with 38 crew members. The updated numbers of survivors rescued were 245 while 3 casualties confirmed, leaving 9 people as positive variance.
Encina said that there is a possibility that the variance of nine people were from the people in the truck that the manifesto failed to record.
“Yung mga pahinanteng yun, baka sila yung variance na nine,” he said.
However, he clarified that the vessel is not overloaded since the vessel’s capacity is 370.
Moreover, the passengers were assured to receive P10,000, while additional assistance will be given to the families of those who perished.
The investigation of who will be held liable for the incident is ongoing and is handled by the Dapitan PCG.
“The mere fact that the incident transpired outside the area of responsibility of Central Visayas but nanggaling yung barko dito sa atin, sa Samboan, we can still coordinate with them if they need us.” He said.
Encina added that the PCG in Cebu conducted the pre-departure inspection of the vessel to ensure its safety.
“Doon po sa port sa PCG, lalo na dito sa Central Visayas, we did our part to conduct ng pre-departure inspection, natagalan nga yung pag-depart sa Samboan wharf kasi chineck. We did our part,” Encina added.
At present, the vessel was towed from the area of the incident and is now subject for extrication of the 19,000 liters of oil in the vessel to avoid spillage. — GAN (FREEMAN)