Two vessels run aground in CordovaCebu Daily News
A fastcraft carrying 197 passengers and 13 crew ran aground as it approached the south entrance of the Mactan Channel near Cordova town at past 8 p.m last Saturday.
The Ocean Jet 5 fast craft which came from Tagbilaran City port in Bohol two hours earlier was supposed to arrive in Pier 1 of the Cebu City port. Its sister vessel Ocean Jet 6 tried to rescue the passengers but failed to do so.
Cebu Coast Guard commander Rolando Punzalan said Ocean Jet 6 ran aground at the Shell Island.
He said Ocean Jet 5 captain Ruel Gatang told them that they spotted a foreign vessel that came out of the Mactan Channel before 8 p.m.
Punzalan said Gutang claimed that he tried to avoid a collision and maneuvered Ocean Jet 5 out of the way, only to hit the shallow area off Shell Island.
Punzalan said he immediately sent a rubber boat in the area on receiving the report.
He said the Ocean Fast Ferries Corp., operator of Ocean Jet fastcraft, contracted the services of a motorized banca of Clemer Lines to transport the passengers to Pier 1.
Punzalan said it also sent Ocean Jet 6 to the area to help. But he said Ocean Jet 6 also ran aground a little over 11 p.m.
The company then sent a tugboat to help Ocean Jet 6 which then headed to Pier 1 at 12:33 a.m yesterday.
Ocean Jet 5 was towed by tugboat Metro Tug 5 back to Pier 1 10 minutes later.
The 197 passengers were transported by the Clemer motor banca in three batches until 11:02 p.m.
One of the passengers, 27-year-old Edgardo Zafra Jr., of barangay Lipata, Minglanilla town, said he noticed rough seas during the middle of their trip but it improved as they neared the Cebu City port.
He said they were just surprised when the vessel shook as they approached the Mactan channel.
Zafra said it took 15 to 30 minutes for the ship captain to inform them what had happened.
But the crew, he said, did not even advise them what to do.
Zafra said some passengers were worried and even wore life jackets out of panic, suspecting that the vessel’s bottom may have sustained a hole after hitting the sea ground.
Zafra said some of the passengers demanded answers from the crew, who then advised them to relax.
He said the crew didn’t provide free food since it was late in the evening already.
When they were transferred all to Clemer boat and reached Pier 1, Zafra said, no representative from Ocean Jet attended to them.
The management has yet to give their comments on the issue since there was no one at their office yesterday.
Punzalan said they have yet to identify the foreign vessel and where it came from. “This is still under investigation.” Punzalan said.
He said the first batch of passengers arrived in Pier 3 at 9:45 p.m. and the last batch arrived at 11 p.m.
No one was reported hurt or injured. Punzalan said the Maritime Industry and Authority (Marina) will conduct an underwater inspection to determine if the Ocean Jet 5 sustained damages. /Jhunnex Napallacan, Correspondent with Reporter Rhea Ruth V. Rosell