Last weekend’s sea tragedy off the Iloilo-Guimaras area may prompt changes in the design of pump boats, the head of the Philippine Coast Guard in Western Visayas said.
PCG-Western Visayas district commander Commodore Allan dela Vega said it is time to review the design of the pump boats and phase out those with unsafe designs.
“In land, we are phasing out old jeepneys. Meanwhile, sea vessels here in Iloilo-Guimaras are still traditional, wooden boats with outriggers. What is it about the design that makes these boats very vulnerable when there are squalls?” Dela Vega said.
At least 28 people were killed in the wake of the sinking of three boats plying the Iloilo-Guimaras route – Keziah 2, Chi-Chi, and Jenny Vince – last Aug. 3 ().
The vessels capsized due to squalls or sudden violent winds.
Some survivors claimed the tarpaulin cover of the pump boat was a factor in the capsizing of the boats as the sudden wind gusts scooped up the boat before slamming it onto the water.
Dela Vega also said there is now a pending court case regarding the issue of whether or not boat passengers in the Iloilo-Guimaras Strait should wear life vests.
In 2010, the Guimaras government sought to require passengers to only hold life jackets, instead of wearing these during the 30-minute trip, because many of them are office workers and the safety gear would rumple their clothes.