ATANGAS, Philippines /New York Netwire/ — A new effort to reduce death and property loss from ferry disasters in the Philippines based on crowd-sourced efforts of ship passengers with Smart phones is already producing results, proponents say. According to Lydia Ramos and John Toomey of Batangas Varsitarian, alert passengers using both their sharp eyes and ears and cell phone apps that track weather, determine exact position and course via GPS, and aid the crew with the aid of hundreds of additional pieces of information, are beginning to improve trip safety and comfort.
Every year, there are 200 ferry accidents in the Philippines, resulting in hundreds of deaths and enormous losses of property. Many know about the famous ones — the MV St. Thomas Aquinas that was struck by a cargo ship near Cebu this last August, resulting in 116 deaths, the Princess of the Stars that tipped over during a typhoon near Sibuyan Island in June 2008, leaving 753 dead, and the Dona Paz, which sank in 1987 resulting in 4,300 deaths. But there are dozens more every year that few hear about because ferry accidents are so common they fail to attract media attention anymore.
Certainly ferry travel will never be perfectly safe. The unpredictable weather and huge shipping traffic in this part of the world mean that there will always be danger.
But ship travel can be made safer — merely through a change in attitude by passengers themselves. Every passenger has the ability to use their own senses and personal technology to increase the likelihood of a successful trip.
The program is outlined on the group’s website, http://ferrypassengersbillofrights.org/ .
As the word is spread through social media, more passengers are evolving towards a realization that how they behave on board can have a major impact on safety.
Last week, according to organizers, an 11 year old boy saw a crew member cleaning a bulkhead with a solvent that was not approved by maritime regulations. He reported the violation with his cell phone and allowed authorities to stop the practice before the end of the trip.
Passengers have access through tools like Google maps to the ship’s planned course, and can tell immediately if there is a deviation. They can SEE other vessels. They can observe overloading of cars and cargo, unfortunately very common in the Philippines, AS IT IS HAPPENING. They have access to the latest weather reports on their cell phones, and can even see imminent weather events which are too new to appear on the news.
Because ferry passengers can walk around freely, more than jet travelers, they can alert crew members to danger that may have been overlooked. They can observe violations of safety procedures by both passengers and crew, which are unfortunately rather common, and can alert the proper authorities.
While it’s important that the shipboard chain of command, from Captain on down, be respected on a ferry, employee attitudes about safety can change if every captain and crew member knows that on every trip, hundreds of passengers are alert, are cognizant about regulations and safety procedures, and will immediately report anything that seems amiss.
NEWS SOURCE: Batangas Varsitarian :: This press release was issued on behalf of the news source (who is solely responsible for its accuracy) by Send2Press® Newswire, a service of Neotrope®.