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‘Princess’ captain is probably dead, says sister
July 02, 2008 18:35:00
Kit Bagaipo
Philippine Daily Inquirer

LOON, BOHOL, Philippines -- A sister of Florencio Marimon Sr., captain of the sunken MV Princess of the Stars, believes that her brother is dead.

Teresita Marimon-Cabacang said that if her brother were alive, “he would have called up his wife, who has been sick and confined in a hospital in Cebu City.”

She described Marimon’s relationship with his family as “very close.” Two of his five children are in college.

On Tuesday, Vice President Noli de Castro said that authorities were looking into reports that the captain of MV Princess of the Stars was alive and in hiding.

Marimon is allegedly being kept by Sulpicio Lines, owner of the sunken ship, together with at least one survivor. Sulpicio lawyer Ma. Victoria Florido has denied the reports.

Cabacang’s belief that her brother was dead was bolstered when some belongings of her nephew, the ship’s navigator, were found by divers near the bridge.

The divers recovered Reuel Lariba’s cellular phone and identification card, which were sent to his parents in Loon last week.

“The two often stayed together since they were close,” said Cabacang, who teaches at a private high school in the village of Catagbacan.

Cabacang said her brother, whom she described as “helpful and compassionate,” would not have bailed out of the sinking ship without helping other passengers.

She said she was a passenger on vessels that her brother had skippered and saw how he personally checked on passengers.

“He is a very simple man and all his junior shipmates call him ‘Tatay’ (father) as he does not want to be called ‘sir’ by his crew,” she said.

She noted that her brother did not like to stay in the captain’s cabin, preferring to supervise his crew at the ship’s bridge. “He even ate his meals there [at the bridge]” and was “very fatherly to his shipmates,” Cabacang said.

For more than 30 years, the 55-year-old Marimon stayed loyal to Sulpicio Lines even with the low pay and the various offers he got from international shipping firms, according to Cabacang.

Marimon was one of the most senior and trusted captains of Sulpicio Lines, rising from the ranks since his apprenticeship more than 30 years ago, she said.

Reacting to statements that laid the blame on the ship’s fate to Marimon, Cabacang said her brother might have committed that “single mistake” of sailing even amid a storm.

“But considering his prayerful nature, he may have trusted everything to the Lord and tried his best to maneuver the ship to safety,” she said.

Cabacang said her brother’s firm belief in God was shown by the altars of the Sto. Niño (Child Jesus) set up at the ferry’s bridge and the captain’s cabin.

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