705 passengers rescued from 2 crippled ships in VisayasBy Jerry E. Esplanada
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—A total of 561 passengers were rescued from an interisland ship that encountered engine trouble while it was about to dock at the Iloilo City port on Sunday, the Philippine Coast Guard said on Monday.
In a report to the PCG headquarters in Manila, Commodore Athelo Ybañez, district commander of the PCG’s Western Visayas district said that instead of docking, the MV St. Thomas Aquinas “decided to drop anchor about 500 yards from its supposed berthing area.”
“Due to the ship’s size, the tug that was available at the Iloilo port failed to tow the vessel to shore. Instead, PCG personnel helped the passengers disembark using the same tugboat. PCG [personnel] were posted aboard the ship and at the terminal area to ensure the passengers’ safety,” said Ybañez.
All Cagayan de Oro-bound passengers of the MV St. Thomas Aquinas “will be transported to Cebu aboard another commercial ship and then brought to their final destination,” he added.
The ship plies the Manila-Bacolod City-Iloilo City-Cagayan de Oro City route.
Also on Sunday, the MV Lady of the Angel had the same problem, prompting personnel of the PCG’s Eastern Visayas district to assist the 144 passengers and crew of the ship bound for Bato, Southern Leyte.
“The vessel came from Cebu City and was on its way to Bato when the incident happened near St. Bernard town,” said the PCG Action Center in Manila.
It added: “The ship’s engine and electrical power were later restored to their normal operating conditions … The MV Lady of the Angel is now on its way to its port of call.”