Thursday, July 10, 2008

Accidents Will Happen

PDI's Neal Cruz writes about Sen. Richard Gordon's report at Monday's Kapihan and chides the media for concentrating all its bandwidth on the Princess of the Stars tragedy:
Forgotten or unknown are at least 22 other big vessels that were lost at sea during the typhoon. So far, 44 have been confirmed dead and 89 still missing in these additional sinkings. These were the bodies washed ashore in Quezon and nearby islands who were at first thought to be passengers of Princess of the Stars but are now confirmed to have come from these other boats.
Many of these vessels were headed for or were already in supposedly safe harbor when they sank or capsized. Neal notes hat the Princess of the Stars was trying to get to shallow water herself when she was upended.

But I think the large number of vessels that went down under similar circumstances strengthens the argument that the Princess of the Stars tragedy was an Act of God. It was an accident caused primarily by Typhoon Frank (Feng Shen).

ABSCBN News has a post on the ten worst maritime disasters of the last 20 years.

The Philippines Travel Guide lists the major maritime shipping companies providing passenger and cargo services in the country (in no particular order):

1. WG&A Philippines, Inc. is the union of three older firms (Williams, Gothong and Aboitiz). It operates ten Super Ferries which it demurely gives each the apt Roman Numeral for a name.

2. Founded in 1932, Negros Navigation is one of the oldest companies in the genre, and names its ships after religious figures, continuing in centuries of Spanish and Philippine tradition:
1. Mary Queen of Peace
2. San Lorenzo Ruiz
3. Princess of Negros
4. St Ezekiel Moreno
5. San Paolo
6. St Joseph the Worker
7. St Peter the Apostle
3.Sulpicio Lines was founded in 1973 by Don Sulpicio Go, then General Manager of Carlos A Gothong (WG&A) " decided to embark on his own adventure and founded Sulpicio Lines". The article lists seventeen shipping vessels, all princesses:
1. Cagayan Princess
2. Cebu Princess
3. Cotabato Princess
4. Dipolog Princess
5. Filipina Princess
6. Iloilo Princess
7. Manila Princess
8. Nasipit Princess
9. Palawan Princess
10. Tacloban Princess
11. Princess of the Caribbean
12. Princess of New Unity
13. Princess of the Ocean
14. Princess of the Pacific
15. Princess of the Paradise
16. Princess of the Universe
17. Princess of the World
The flagship Princess of the Stars is no longer listed with her sisters.

4. MBRS, Inc. operates between Manila, Romblon and Panay with:
1. Mary the Queen
2. Virgin Mary
3. Blessed Mother
4. Romblon Bay
5. Viva Shipping Lines

6. El Greco Jet Ferries
7. Cebu Ferry Corp. operates eight Ladies:
1. Our Lady of Fatima
2. Our Lady of Good Voyage
3. Our Lady of Guadalupe
4. Our Lady of Lourdes
5. Our Lady of Manaoag
6. Our Lady of Mount Carmel
7. Our Lady of Rule
8. Our Lady of Sacred Heart
8. SuperCat Ferry Corp. names its vessels after felines with numbers.

WHAT'S IN A NAME? Perhaps the naming conventions and traditions of the maritime industry, with its decided appeal to the intercessionary powers of Mary and the saints, say something about the acceptance of many that it's a dangerous business ferrying people and cargo in the ocean waters of the Archipelago.


sparks said...

An aside, I think this comment will please you. hehe.

I don't think our society has mass-grasped the idea that science and technology can improve lives. We are still supplicants to the fury of nature, thus the need for metaphysical protection (prayers, etc.)

While industrial societies have now done an about-face with regard to their relationship with 'nature', it has not yet occured to us that we can tame it.

Equalizer said...

Dick Gordon is such a publicity hound!Made sure that he got maximum publicity as RC head during the tragedy.He posed for pics many times as he gave relief bags to victims.Kept on referring to the Suplicio tragedy as a "Shebang"in CNN inerviews.Funny and silly.

Richard said...

This point is well taken and has been made in several other blogs too...this focus on the Princess of the Stars is starting to look a lot like a smoke screen. It was a tragedy, though it is still unclear where the final responsibility lay...and perhaps that is by design. In a system that diffuses and obvuscates cause and effect...everybody is to blame...and thus nobody is to blame. There seem to me to be so many 'points of failure' built into this sad episode, that even to assign blame to any one portion of it, will seem is an attitude throughout the whole that caused this tragedy...and this focus takes away from the fact that many, many more have died or are dying as we speak, and nobody seems to be paying any attention.

I hate to point to another blog, but I agree with Wretchard on this one...the true cause is the 'culture of disaster':

Amadeo said...

Quite a revelation about the fact that currently most of the ships are named after Mary in her many manifestations, which trend may be of relative vintage since when we were growing up ships were named after places, or if like William Lines of yore after the owner's children.

But I believe SuperCat got its name with the Cat portion referring to the catamaran type of hull being used, and less about felines in general.

And in a country that is predominantly Catholic and quite biased to Marian devotion, why not? Even considering that of the shipping lines listed, a number would be owned or controlled by the ethnic Chinese minority. I know of many who converted and are very devout Catholics.

Jego said...

I remember the litany after the rosary when my grandmother led the prayers when I was a kid. Would make good names for marine vessels too: Mystical Rose, Seat of Wisdom, Spiritual Vessel, House of Gold, Gate of Heaven, Vessel of Honor, etc. (Pray for us.)

Perhaps sparks, unlike western societies, we know that in a fight between us and Nature, Nature always wins, and to tame her is futile. The West thinks it's winning, with Nature now crying uncle (ozone depletion, massive deforestation, pollution, etc.), but parang si FPJ lang yan; nagpapabugbog sa umpisa. When it's time for Nature to get payback, there's no getting out of its way.

blackshama said...

Hey hey DJB!

Why don't you extend your argument to its logical conclusion? A majority of ships are all named in the female gender. Ships are always a she!

Is this fact that they are all shes have something to do why the ships may be ill starred?