At least 50 bodies of victims from MV Kim Nirvana-B sinking last Thursday, July 2, 2015, were transported to Cebu by the Philippine Coast Guard on board the PCG’s BRP Batangas yesterday morning at 7 am, Sunday, July 5, 2015. As the relatives climbed on board to claim the bodies, silence had fallen except for the crying of the victims’ loved ones.
The day before the bodies were delivered, on Saturday, June 4, 2015, a memorial service for the deceased victims was held in Ormoc City. To honor them, prayers were said and flowers were tossed into the sea. Another 2 bodies of an adult and a child were found on the day of the service near the shore where the Ormoc Public Market was located, bringing the latest count of fatalities to a total of 61.
With 145 survivors reported, this means the total number of those onboard were 206, more than the boat’s capacity of 194 and much greater than the total of 173 on the boat’s list of passengers. The boat was also carrying sacks containing cement, fertilizer and rice that are estimated to have been as heavy as 7,500 kg which were not secured properly, according to the findings. It’s suspected that the sacks may have shifted to one side when the Captain maneuvered the vessel to a sharp right, tilting the ferry but no conclusion has been released yet.
Capt. Warren Oliverio said the passengers were given life vests but one survivor denied that any were distributed. Nineteen, comprising of the operator of the vessel, Joge Bong Zarco, Capt. Oliverio and the rest of the crew, have been charged with murder by the Philippine police. Regional police head Chief Superintendent Asher Dolina, reasoned, “They were not careful, showing there was an intent to kill. They were reckless on purpose.”