Due to strong winds, waves three ships run aground

Jessa Agua (The Freeman) - January 17, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A cargo ship and two passenger vessels bound for Cebu ran aground yesterday due to strong winds and rough seas.

As of 8 last night, Philippine Coast Guard and Medallon Transport Inc. rescue seacrafts could not get near MV Our Lady of All Nations, which ran aground in Danajon Bank in northern Bohol.

“The vessel is still there (Danajon Bank). But it is not in danger of sinking. No reports of injured passengers or crew members. We are monitoring the vessel. In fact, we sent a Coast Guard vessel to help transfer the stranded passengers. But our men could not release the rubber boat due to strong waves. We will resume operations tomorrow (today) morning,” said Commodore William Melad, PCG Central Visayas chief.

The ship left Bato, Leyte 9 p.m. last Wednesday with 90 passengers and ran aground in a shallow portion near Bohol past midnight, according to a report received by the PCG.

Melad said MV Our Lady of All Nations’ sister ship, MV Prosperity, was dispatched to provide assistance to the stranded vessel yesterday afternoon and reached the area around 6 p.m.

It, however, could not get close enough without running the risk of getting stuck also.

Melad said Danajon Bank, located between Leyte and Bohol, has several shallow portions, giving rescue vessels a hard time rescuing the passengers.

“Yes, doon na sa (MV Prosperity is now in the) vicinity. However, they will wait for the highest tide at 11 p.m. tonight before attempting to town and extract MV Our Lady of All Nations,” Melad told The FREEMAN  last night.

Meanwhile, just minutes apart, another passenger vessel from Maasin, Leyte also ran aground at Bantolinao Point off Lapu-Lapu City, after being similarly buffeted by strong winds and battered by huge waves.

Roble Shipping’s MV Joyful Stars, with 295 passengers and 72 crew members onboard, left Leyte at 4 p.m. last Wednesday for Cebu but likewise ran aground before 1 a.m. yesterday.

“We transferred passengers from the vessel to a yacht club pier close to the town of Liloan. We used rubber boats, small boats, and fisher boats. The shipping company also contracted a tugboat to help in the rescue. Natapos tayo mga (We finished rescuing the passengers and crew at) 3 p.m. na kasi naka (yesterday because we managed to) start tayo (at) daylight na (already),” Melad said.

He said most of the passengers were on their way to Cebu to join the Sinulog festivities.

“Malakas ang alon at saka hangin (The wind and waves were very strong). The vessel drifted to Bantolinao Point. It was battered by strong waves.  Siguro di na nakayanan kaya (It is likely the ship could not overcome the wind and waves so) it ran aground,” he added.

MV Joyful Stars was already close to reaching the port safely, as it was just 10 kilometers away when it ventured into shallow waters.

“Nasa bukana na sana sila (They were already on the entry, close to the north entrance of Mactan channel,” Melad said, adding that no passengers were injured and the vessel suffered no damage during the incident.

Less than two hours later, a passing cargo ship also got stuck a mere 50 meters away from where MV Joyful Stars got marooned.

MV Subic Bay 1 of Gothong Shipping was heading towards Cebu City when it ran aground around 2:44 in the morning, around 12 hours after leaving Nasipit, Butuan.

Melad assured that while the cargo vessel remains at Bantoliano Point as of press time last night, it was not in danger of sinking and was just waiting for the tide to rise so it could extricate itself.—/RHM (FREEMAN)

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