Cebu News

Fastcraft runs into pier 21 people hurt in port mishap

Jessa J. Agua, Grace Melanie I. Lacamiento - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - A fastcraft from Bohol rammed the pier as it was about to dock in Pier 1 in Cebu City yesterday morning, causing minor injuries to at least 18 passengers and three crew.

Tumulak noted that he was able to talk to the skipper who claimed that the injured passengers were mostly those who stood up despite instructions to remain seated as the vessel was maneuvering to dock, minutes before the supposed arrival at Pier 1 in Cebu City from the Tagbilaran City port.

"He said most passengers already stood up even if the fastcraft had not come to a full stop. So when the steering problem occurred, they hit each other and fell on their heads," Tumulak said.

In a statement, 2GO management through its vice president for operations and spokesman Lito Salvio stressed that they will shoulder the medical expenses of those injured.

"2GO’s SuperCat vessel St. Sealthiel experienced maneuvering control malfunction this morning March 10, 2015 at 8:25 a.m. at Cebu Pier 1. Eighteen passengers sustained minor injuries and were immediately brought to the nearest hospital in Cebu. Most of them were already released and 4 remained for further check-up. 2GO will shoulder all needed medical expenses and treatment. All other 106 passengers and crew were safely disembarked,” the statement read.

Salvio further assured the riding public that their vessels undergo regular maintenance check up.

“Fastcrafts are maintained daily by our night maintenance crew and follows regular preventive maintenance procedures of the manufacturer,” Salvio added.

When asked if the shipping company is investigating what went wrong, he said “there is a continuous improvement process.”

Villajuan said the fastcraft was already brought to the shipyard shortly after the initial investigation.

The Maritime Industry Authority has yet to conclude its investigation to decide on whether or not to suspend the rest of the fast craft units of 2GO.

MARINA-7 legal officer Jose Cabatingan III said that they dispatched their inspector to investigate the incident. He said that they cannot determine possible sanctions yet since they are still waiting for the recommendation.

 “It will be forthcoming kun naa’y ma-compromise ang seaworthiness sa vessel, MARINA will definitely suspend the ship safety certificate of that vessel,” he said.

Consesa Belen, 56, a resident of Tagbilaran, Bohol, was among those injured after she suffered a lump on her forehead during the incident. She was also immediately rushed to the hospital.

Belen said she was seated near a window of the vessel. She added that when the vessel was about to dock, she and her daughter remained seated but other passengers already stood up to prepare to leave.

When the vessel rammed into the pier Belen said she saw how the other passengers fell and got hurt.

“Nahagba ang uban kay nagtindog na man sila daan. Ako naglingkod ra ko,” she said.

She and her daughter are here to process her daughter’s documents at the Professional Regulations Commission.

“Pagminor niya, misulod atong piot nga dapit unya mibunggo siya. Mao to, hubag kaayo ni siya. Maayo na lang nakadali og palit akong anak og ice,” she said, pointing to her lump.

Belen said that their medical needs were taken care of by the 2GO personnel who accompanied them to the private hospital. She did not stay long in the hospital. —/BRP (FREEMAN)

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