Ship with 600 passengers goes adrift after engine conks out off Siquijor
CEBU CITY-A Trans Asia passenger ship carrying over 600 passengers went adrift after its engine stalled around midnight Sunday at around 20 nautical miles from Lazi, Siquijor.
According to Lt Junior Grade Robinson Madriaga, operations officer of the Coast Guard District Central Visayas, the MV Trans Asia 5 of the Trans Asia Shipping Lines Inc. left Cagayan de Oro City port for Cebu City at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
However, Trans Asia 5 experienced engine trouble at 12 midnight on Sunday around 7 to 8 nautical miles, east of Siquijor.
The boat drifted southward and by morning, it was located 11.6 nautical miles from Plaridel, Misamis Occidental, according to PO2 Melchor Inigo, officer on duty at the Coast Guard Station in Larena, Siquinor.
In a phone interview on Monday evening, Madriaga said the crew of the vessel headed by Captain Roman Gencono informed the Coast Guard about their situation at 6 a.m. on Monday.
Madriaga said they immediately sent a search and rescue vessel to the area.
The Trans Asia shipping company also sent sister vessel MV Asia Pacific at around noon on Monday and two tugboats later.
At around 2:30 p.m., Trans Asia 5 was towed by Asia Pacific with the two tugboats on each sides.
Madriaga said the Coast Guard’s search and rescue vessel 002 BRP Pampanga manned by a crew headed by Cebu Coast Guard station commander Rodolfo Villajuan, with a medical team and rescuers on board, also accompanied the towing operation.
The Coast Guard also gave bottled water to some of the passengers As of 5 pm., Madriaga said, the strong winds had caused the vessel to drift to Mindanao area because of the slow speed at 2 knots.
He said the towing vessel and the towed vessel were located 30 nautical miles from Plaridel, Misamis Occidental.
Madriaga said they might go with the direction of the wind and if necessary, they would transfer the passengers to the rescue vessel and to MV Asia Pacific.
He latter sent a message through text that they decided that the vessel would be towed towards Cagayan de Oro City.
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