MARINA to issue show cause orders vs. personnel over MT Princess Empress operations

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 19) — The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) is preparing to issue show cause orders against some of its personnel who may have been involved in green lighting the operations of the sunken MT Princess Empress despite its questionable seaworthiness.

In a press briefing on Friday, MARINA Legal Services Director Sharon Aledo said the agency's anti-graft and corruption committee has already convened to discuss the results report of the fact-finding group tasked to gather information on the operations of the shipowner RDC Reield Marine Services, Inc.

Aledo said the fact-finding committee conducted interviews with MARINA personnel who oversaw the construction of the vessel until its registration.

When asked how many personnel will be issued with show cause orders, Aledo said: "As of the report I got, we have two. Let's see ang magiging preliminary investigation ng [the preliminary investigation of the] anti-graft and corruption committee."

After the issuance of show cause orders, the anti-graft and corruption committee is expected to conduct a clarificatory hearing and a preliminary investigation before filing an administrative case, she said.

When asked if the internal probe will involve high-ranking officials, Aledo said: "Of course, sa proseso kasi [according to the process], it is the regional director that approves and implements the policies, the MARINA circulars in the regional offices."

The MARINA official said RDC registered the MT Princess Empress in the Bicol region.

On Thursday, the Department of Transportation announced that MARINA-National Capital Region has revoked the Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) of RDC based on the findings that it operated the MT Princess Empress without authority. RDC has yet to make an appeal.

The CPC is defined as an authorization it issues to a domestic water transport service provider to operate a vessel for commercial or public use, for which no franchise is required by law.

The MT Princess Empress was carrying around 900,000 liters of industrial fuel oil when it sank in the waters off Oriental Mindoro on Feb. 28.

The oil spill affected 41,245 families or 193,901 people and the livelihood of around 24,000 fisherfolk, disaster management officials said.

The remaining oil inside the sunken tanker has yet to be siphoned off.