Fast craft fire started in engine room, authorities say
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Investigation is still ongoing to shed light as to why a fire erupted in a fast craft while it was sailing the seawaters of Bohol last Sunday, June 26.
The Philippine Coast Guard in Central Visayas (PCG-7), in a press conference on Monday, June 27, said initial findings showed the fire that struck M/V Mama Mary-Cloe started in the vessel’s engine room.
“Allegedly, the flames came from the exhaust of the engine. But as to the real cause of the fire, that is still under investigation,” said Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) Krysta Bergantin, spokesperson of PCG-7.
The fast craft, owned by NNO Shipping, was on its way to Bato, Leyte from Ubay, Bohol on Sunday afternoon.
Bergantin said Coast Guard personnel in their Ubay substation received a distress signal from the vessel barely an hour after it departed the Port of Ubay.
“When it sent its distress signal, it was still sailing within the waters of Bohol, just 2.2 nautical miles away from the port,” she explained.
The incident claimed the life of a 53-year-old male passenger identified as Adolfo Rañola.
PCG-7 has also launched a marine casualty investigation to determine the cause of his death.
Based on initial investigations, all of M/V Mama Mary-Cloe’s 157 passengers, including Rañola, and its eight crew members jumped off the vessel clad in life jackets.
“An autopsy will be performed on the victim’s body to help us identify the real cause of his death,” said Bergantin.
On the other hand, another male passenger earlier reported as missing has been located and accounted for, PCG-7 said. The passenger, identified as Andy V. Toniacao, 32, from Hilongos town in Leyte, reported to the Coast Guard in Hilongos on Monday morning.
Meanwhile, majority of the rescued passengers have been reunited with their loved ones hours after their horrible ordeal except for two who are currently confined in a hospital to treat their burns.
“These are just minor injuries – minor burns from the fire, and they are being treated right now,” Bergantin added.
The PCG-7 also said they found no signs indicating possible oil spill due to the tragedy.
Authorities are expecting the captain of M/V Mama Mary-Cloe to file a marine protest this Monday.
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