TACLOBAN CITY ? A passenger vessel with more than 100 passengers had to take an emergency docking at the Binit Port in San Ricardo, Southern Leyte at about 3 p.m. Tuesday to prevent any accident since the vessel was leaning towards its right side, the Philippine Coast Guard in Maasin City said.
The vessel, M/V Ocean King II, was maneuvering the waters of Balong-Balong Point when it encountered strong winds and huge waves brought about by inclement weather, Petty Officer 1 Michael Romero of the Maasin Coast Guard said in a telephone interview.
Despite the problem encountered by the vessel, all passengers were safe, Romero said.
The vessel, which was owned by Mandaue City-based Sea Marine Transportation Inc. and captained by Zaldy Angot, left the port of Lipata, Surigao del Norte Tuesday noon and was scheduled to arrive at 3 p.m. in Liloan, Southern Leyte, Romero said.
He explained that the vessel?s captain decided to dock at the Binit Port when he noticed that the vessel?s steering room was already flooded with seawater.
At the time, the vessel was just less than a mile from the Binit Port, San Ricardo, which was about 21.59 nautical miles from Liloan town.
Romero explained that water had entered into the steering room of the Ocean King causing the vessel to tilt on its starboard (right) side. The steering room serves as the ?control? room of the vessel, he said.
The vessel might have sunk if the captain had decided to continue toward its destination, Romero explained.
He also ruled out any overloading incident saying that the vessel has a capacity of 498.22 tons and could carry up to 331 passengers.
?It was the bad weather that caused it to tilt,? he said.
The San Ricardo municipal government had provided the passengers food, water and clothing, Romero said.
At present, majority of the passengers are still at the terminal building of the Binit Port, he added.