Quantcast
Latest Stories

Cebu ferry death toll climbs to 38, as oil leaks


Philippine Navy divers retrieve a body from the waters off the coast of Talisay city, Cebu province, in central Philippines Saturday Aug. 17, 2013, a day after a passenger ferry MV Thomas of Aquinas collided with a cargo ship Sulpicio Express Siete. AP

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Divers hauled bodies out of rough seas Sunday in the grisly aftermath of a ferry disaster that claimed at least 38 lives, as oil leaked from the submerged vessel.

Rescue efforts were focused throughout Sunday on more than 80 people missing and believed trapped inside the St. Thomas Aquinas ferry that sank on Friday night near the central city of Cebu after colliding with a cargo ship.

More than 800 passengers and crew were aboard the ferry, which sank within 10 minutes of impact.

“It is possible that there are air pockets in its compartments and there might be survivors,” Navy spokesman Lieutenant Commander Gregory Fabic told AFP, adding people could survive for 72 hours in such conditions.

“There is still hope that there might just be survivors there.”

However by nightfall the navy and coastguard divers had not been able to reach the interior of the vessel, with strong currents and choppy waves hampering efforts, and only dead bodies from its outer areas had been recovered.

The official death toll rose from 31 in the morning to 38, and authorities cautioned that the odds of finding any more survivors were low.

The military, however, said that the deaths stood at 39 as of Sunday afternoon.

“We are still hopeful, although you have to accept the reality that their chances of survival are very slim,” Neil Sanchez, head of the regional disaster management office in Cebu, told reporters.

The number of people officially listed as missing was sharply reduced on Sunday to 82 from 170, but this was due to tallying issues rather than any fresh rescues.

The number of missing was cut after those involved in the search reconciled their figures, said Sanchez.

However authorities were unable to say how many people may be in the sunken ship, which is at a depth of about 30 meters (98 feet), giving some hope the number of missing could be reduced further.

Survivors and people with relatives still missing waited anxiously at the Cebu ferry passenger terminal and a local hospital for news of loved ones.

“I cannot explain what I am feeling. It is painful, but I continue to hope,” said Nanette Condicion, 44, who survived by jumping on to the cargo ship but lost her elder sister and 71-year-old father in the chaos.

“I am staying here to wait for them, dead or alive. I am not going to leave unless I see both of them.”

Meanwhile leaking oil from the vessel added a new front to the disaster response, spreading for more than five kilometers (three miles) and into coastal villages, fishing grounds and mangroves.

“You can see it coming out of the sunken vessel. It is bunker fuel and it is black,” Cebu coastguard commander Weniel Azcuna told AFP.

At one area about five kilometers from the disaster site, mangroves were coated in black oil at low tide, and birds waded amid shallow water covered in a rainbow sheen, according to an AFP reporter.

Authorities said the ferry was carrying 120,000 liters (32,000 gallons) of bunker fuel when it sank. Divers were unable to reach the source of the leak to try and plug it.

The ships collided as they were travelling in opposite directions at a well-known choke point near the mouth of Cebu’s port.

The steel bow of the cargo ship, Sulpicio Express 7, caved in on impact but it sailed safely to dock.

Officials said they suspected human error was to blame for one of the ships going into a wrong lane, although investigations had only just begun.

Ferries are one of the main forms of transport across the archipelago of more than 7,100 islands.

But sea accidents are common, with poor safety standards and lax enforcement typically to blame.

The world’s deadliest peacetime maritime disaster occurred near the capital Manila in 1987 when a ferry laden with Christmas holidaymakers collided with a small oil tanker, killing more than 4,300 people. With Frances Mangosing, INQUIRER.net


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Cebu , environment , Maritime Accidents , oil leak , Philippines , Pollution , Regions , St. Thomas Aquinas




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. US teacher fired over comment on black president
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. Filipinos, Dane re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  4. Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  5. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Massive infra spending set
  8. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  9. Easter crucifixions draw huge crowds
  10. Korea ferry captain arrested, divers spot bodies
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • 13th body pulled from snow in Everest avalanche
  • Pope sends condolences for S.Korea ferry victims
  • Drone kills 15 ‘Qaeda,’ 3 civilians in Yemen – security
  • Palace expects Gigi Reyes to tell all on pork scam
  • MH370 search at ‘critical juncture’–Malaysia
  • Sports

  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Boston prepares for huge wave of marathon visitors
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • PH boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare
  • Canadians back PH plea to take back waste
  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
  • OFW from UAE tests negative for MERS-Cov–health chief
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement