Bad weather prevents rescue of grounded ship’s passengers | Inquirer News
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Bad weather prevents rescue of grounded ship’s passengers

By: - Correspondent / @joeygabietaINQ
/ 06:53 PM January 17, 2014

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte—-Over 100 passengers and crewmembers of the MV Our Lady of All Nations that ran aground off Bato town in Leyte remained at sea on Friday as rough weather prevented their rescue.

The ferry ran aground at Danajon Island off Bato at 1 a.m. Thursday, said Petty Officer I Mario Rosaldo Madrigal of the Bato Coast Guard Station.

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He said bad weather prevented the MV Prosperity, a sister ship of the Our Lady of All Nations, and a Philippine Coast Guard ship from going near the distressed vessel.

The rescue vessels were also being battered by strong winds and heavy rains, which pushed them away from the MV Our Lady Of All Nations, Madrigal said.

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The passenger vessel, manned by Capt. Samuel Pael and 52 crew members, had 90 passengers, including a child.

It had left the port of Bato 9 p.m. Wednesday and was expected to reach Cebu  past 3 a.m. the following day.

“When it departed from the port of Bato, the weather was fine,” Madrigal said, “However, it encountered big waves and strong winds in the area where it ran aground, which is about 18.5 nautical miles from Cebu,” Madrigal said in a phone interview.

He said their station received a distress call from the ship’s captain at 1:16 a.m. Thursday.

The ship’s operator, the Medallion Transport Inc. which is based in Cebu City, had requested for a helicopter from the Mactan Air Base so they could air-drop  food for the stranded passengers and the crew.

The Coast Guard official said that the bad weather could have been indecuded by a low pressure area that has since intensified into a tropical depression given the name “Agaton.”

The region, particularly Leyte and Eastern Samar provinces, bore the brunt of Typhoon ‘‘Yolanda’’ last Nov. 8.

Vessels at the ports of Tacloban and Guiuan, Eastern Samar, remained docked and were prevented from leaving  due to the low pressure area.

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