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Insurance Company Unable To Pay Victims

MASBATE CITY - Hopes dimmed for the insurance claims of the relatives of the over 150 passengers who perished in the sinking of MV Maria Carmela after efforts of agencies concerned to intercede on their behalf failed to produce positive results.

For one, the insurer of the ill-fated vessel, Capital Insurance and Surety Co., Inc. continues to reject the claims for damages of the relatives of those who perished when the vessel caught fire and sank April 11 last year in the waters of Pagbilao town in Quezon province, according to the main office of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).

In fact, the inaction to the claims involving P100,000 each victim prompted MARINA to order its field offices across the country to reject passenger insurance coverage issued by any branch of the erring insurance firm.

MARINA also recommended to the Office of the Insurance Commission to strike off Capital Insurance from the list of the commissionís accredited companies which are qualified to provide mandatory insurance coverage of passengers of inter-island ships.

This left the claimants with no option but to take criminal or civil actions or both against Capital Insurance.

All this came about after Masbate City Mayor Socrates M. Tuason and the city council sought MARINAíS intervention to the claimantís quest for swift remuneration.

In a decision received by the city government last Thursday, MARINA administrator Oscar Sevilla said that after directing Capital Insurance to explain why it should not be blacklisted "what appears on record is the continued refusal of respondent to honor the claims of the liens of the casualties.

For another, the general manager of Montenegro Shipping Lines Inc. owner of MV Maria Carmela, came to Masbate only to decide when he would sit in the bargaining table to settle the claims.