Passenger ferry catches fire while sailing in Panglao, Bohol; no one hurt
CEBU CITY, Philippines – A passenger ferry carrying at least 70 passengers and crew caught fire while sailing the waters of Panglao, Bohol on Sunday morning, June 18.
Fortunately, no one was hurt and all have already been rescued, authorities said.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) confirmed that they received a distress alert from M/V Esperanza Star, owned and operated by Kho Shipping Lines, around 3:55 a.m. on Sunday. It was carrying at least 55 passengers and 16 crew.
The passenger-cargo vessel’s stern had caught fire while on its way to Tagbilaran Port.
According to Anthony Damalerio, head of the Bohol Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), all individuals on board the ferry had been accounted for.
M/V Esperanza Star was en route to Tagbilaran City in Bohol from Iligan City in Northern Mindanao when the fire hit its engine room, said Damalerio.
Based on initial findings from authorities, M/V Esperanza Star departed from Iligan City in Northern Mindanao last Saturday evening, June 17.
The passenger ferry made a quick stop at Lazi in Siquijor around Sunday dawn before proceeding to Tagbilaran City. It was supposed to arrive at Tagbilaran around 4:30 a.m.
However, the crew issued a distress alert at 3:55 a.m., prompting nearby rescue units and the PCG to conduct rescue operations.
Damalerio said fisherfolks and a nearby passenger vessel, TransAsia 19, also assisted in the rescue.
All crew and passengers have been brought to shore where they have been assisted by emergency personnel and those from the shipping company.
“Wala tay injuries nga natala. Naay mga minor complaints parehas anang nagsaka ang ilang BP (blood pressure) ug naglisud og ginhawa (tungod sa kakulba),” said Damalerio.
(We have no injuries that were recorded. We have minor complaints like the rising of their BP (blood pressure) and those who had difficulty breathing (due to fear).)
Citing claims from the crew of M/V Esperanza Star, the PDRRMO chief said the fire started right outside the engine room.
Investigations are still ongoing to determine the cause of the fire, he added.
“Wala sad natabang og pawong ang kalayo kay paspas (man ang pagkatay)… Giprioritize nila (ug salbar) ang mga pasahero,” explained Damalerio.
(They also failed to put out the fire because it quickly (spread)…they prioritized (saving) the passengers.)
Meanwhile, Kho Shipping Lines, in a statement posted on social media, thanked all those who helped in ensuring the safety of crew and passengers on board M/V Esperanza Star.
“Kho Shipping Lines (KSL) Incorporated extended its gratitude to the personnel of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)-Bohol, personnel of vessel TransAsia 19, and fisherfolks of Tagbilaran City and Panglao area in the province of Bohol for instantly responding to the distress call when MV Esperanza Star caught fire early Sunday morning off the coast of Tagbilaran City,” portions of it read.
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