MANILA, Philippines—Nine Superferry vessels owned by the Negros Navigation-Aboitiz Transport System Corp. (Nenaco-ATSC) have been ordered grounded after one of them collided with a fishing boat off Sarangani on Friday, the Philippine Coast Guard said Saturday.
PCG spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Algier Ricafrente said a notice of “voyage suspension” was issued by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to Nenaco-ATC on the operations of MV Superferry 20, MV Superferry 1, MV Superferry 2, MV Superferry 5, MV Superferry 12, MV Superferry 21, MV Cebu Ferry 1, MV Cebu Ferry 2 and MV Cebu Ferry 3.
Superferry 20 was involved in the collision with fishing boat San Jose Bayanihan in the vicinity of Barangay Tinoto, Maasim town, near the mouth of Sarangani Bay. The fishing boat was a total wreck and quickly sank. A member of the crew, Giovanni Buntong, 60, died after being hit on the head by floating debris.
The fishing boat’s captain and other five other crewmen were rescued by PCG personnel who were patrolling nearby.
All the grounded Superferry vessels will be subjected to a reinspection and additional international safety management audit by a joint Marina and PCG team, Ricafrente said.
Aside from the PCG, Marina’s Enforcement Office and regional offices, the Philippine Ports Authority and Cebu Ports Authority were also deputized to enforce the order.
The Seafarer’s Identification Record Book and qualification documents of the officers and crew of Superferry 20 as well as the ship’s safety certificates were also cancelled until further notice, Ricafrente added.
Marina will begin its investigation of the collision on Nov. 25. The first hearing will be held at 10 a.m. at the agency’s franchise office hearing room at Parkview Plaza, Ermita, Manila.
The Superferry 20, skippered by Capt. Candido Rasonabe, had 542 passengers at the time of the incident. It left General Santos City at 11:45 p.m. Thursday for a voyage to Manila with a brief stopover in Zamboanga City.
The fishing boat, which also came from General Santos City, was cruising southeastward to Balut Island in the Sarangani Islands when the collision took place at around 1 a.m. Friday. (The Sarangani Islands are not part of Sarangani province. The islands comprise a municipality, also called Sarangani, of Davao del Sur)
In August, two cargo ships collided near the area. Two crewmen were reported missing.