An online petition calling for the cancellation of the franchise of Philippines Span Asia Carrier Corp., popularly known by its old name Sulpicio Lines, has gone viral and reached more than 2,000 signatories in just one week.
The petition against Sulpicio Lines is addressed to Dr. Maximo Q. Mejia, administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and can be accessed at
This comes in the wake of the tragic collision of Sulpicio Express 7 cargo ship with passenger ship St. Thomas Aquinas off the coast of Cebu two weeks ago which caused the death of 100 people.
The sea tragedy not only caused grief and suffering to the families and friends of the victims but also resulted in the spilling of 120,000 liters of oil into the shorelines of Talisay, Cordova, and Lapu-Lapu.
“We are sick and tired of seeing body bags,” said the petition, which described the ships of Sulpicio Lines as “floating coffins” involved in five major sea tragedies that claimed more than 5,000 lives.
Apart from the recent mishap, the petition cited the 1987 collision of Sulpicio ferry Dona Paz with an oil tanker which left more than 4,300 people dead. This incident is billed as “the world’s worst peacetime
One of the petitioners, Atty. Nonnatus Chua, said that signing the petition is a personal matter for him as both his parents and grandmother died as passengers of Sulpicio’s MV Dona Paz.
Also mentioned in the petition were the 1988 catastrophes involving the tragic sinking of Sulpicio’s Dona Marilyn off Leyte island amid a typhoon, which killed more than 250 people, and that of the Princess of the Orient in a port near Manila, which led to the deaths of another 150 people.
It also pointed out the case of Sulpicio’s MV Princess of the Stars which sank after setting sail during a storm in 2008 and where only 50 of the 850 passengers survived.
A signatory to the petition, Georges Zschalig, said that witnessing the sinking of Sulpicio’s MV Princess of the Stars off the coast of Sibuyan island in 2008 made him sign the online petition.
“Our country is an archipelago. We should have the best and safest maritime transportation and the strictest standards on sea travel,” said another petitioner, Maria Socorro Melic of Quezon City.
Erlee Adrian Lera of Cebu City also added his voice to the petition calling for a ban on Sulpicio Lines saying “we must learn that thousands of people died without justice served.”
“What makes me angry and sad is to see how they don’t care about peoples lives. only profit counts [for Sulpicio Lines],” he said.
Meanwhile petitioner Gio Tabanao of Davao City said that it is best to cancel Sulpicio’s franchise altogether to avoid the sacrifice of more lives.
“It will never be enough to warn people against Sulpicio, especially the ones who are financially challenged,” said Tabanao.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III and Kabataan Partylist Representative Terry Ridon also called for an investigation on the sea tragedy involving Sulpicio Express 7 and St. Thomas Aquinas.
The legislators said that those involved in the disaster could have their franchise cancelled if neglect on their part is proven in the course of the inquiry