300 Tawi-Tawi-bound boat passengers stranded in Basilan island | Inquirer News

300 Tawi-Tawi-bound boat passengers stranded in Basilan island

/ 05:48 PM July 15, 2023

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboanga del Sur – More than three hundred passengers of MV Trisha Kirsten bound for Bongao, Tawi-Tawi are still stranded in Baluk-Baluk Island in Hadji Muhtamad town, Basilan since Friday night, local authorities said on Saturday.

Nagdar Sasapan, provincial director of the Ministry of Trade, Investments, and Tourism (MTIT) in Sulu, is one of the 300 passengers on board the said commercial vessel owned and operated by Aleson Shipping Lines.

“We thought we arrived early to our destination when I woke up around 4 a.m., July 15 [Saturday], but when I asked around, we were informed we are in Basilan and the boat encountered engine trouble,” Sasapan said.


They left the port of Zamboanga City around 9 p.m. on Friday and had expected to arrive in Bongao between 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday.


“Until now, the boat personnel are waiting for the maintenance crew to fix the problem and we are running short of food,” Sasapan said. The announcement that the boat is having a problem was made around 4 a.m., and they were assured that help from mechanics was underway.

Philippine Coast Guard Zamboanga station commander Christopher Domingo confirmed that one of the ships of Aleson Shipping is stranded in one of the islands of Basilan province “due to engine failure.”

“We were informed that maintenance crew has been dispatched to the said stranded boat,” Domingo added.

He said the boat encountered engine trouble close to the area where another vessel owned by Aleson Shipping Lines, the MV Lady Mary Joy, caught fire last March 29.

READ: Floating inferno: Dozens dead, missing in ferry fire

Sasapan said it was quite a coincidence that their boat encountered engine trouble off an island where another of their boat also caught fire. “It is 100 days now and (we) remember the souls who perished in the said (tragedy).”


Rear Admiral Donn Anthony Miraflor, commander of Naval Forces Western Mindanao, assured that all the 342 passengers and 38 boat crew members are safe. “We are monitoring them, no reported danger so far, and we have a standby MPAC (Multi-purpose attack craft) just in case we are needed. We were told that nasiraan ang barko and inaayos na and we have direct contact with the boat personnel on board.”

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TAGS: Aleson Shipping Lines, Basilan, stranded, Tawi-Tawi

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