SuperCat rams Cebu city pier
At least 21 persons were injured when a SuperCat fast craft rammed the pier in Cebu City instead of docking properly about 8:30 a.m. yesterday.
A “maneuvering control failure” was cited as the cause of the accident involving the St. Sealthiel which arrived on time from Tagbilaran, Bohol.
Lito Salvio, SuperCat general manager, said 20 persons were injured — 17 passengers and 3 crewmembers.
The ship suffered dents in the right and left portions of the bow.
“2Go will shoulder all needed medical expenses and treatment. All other 106 passengers and eight crewmen were safely disembarked,” said Salvio in a press statement.
Most of them were discharged after treatment in Chong Hua Hospital yesterday.
Salvio said the fast craft “experienced maneuvering control failure.”
Most of the injured passengers had bruises, scratches and scrapes in the face and body, said Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, chairman of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Porters described seeing passengers with blood in their faces, noses and lips who were rushed to waiting ambulances.
Tumulak, who helped in the rescue operation, said most of those who were injured, were standing up waiting for the vessel to dock so they could disembark quickly.
They were thrown off balance by the hard impact.
Cebu Coast Guard Commander Rodolfo Villajuan said the vessel “accidentally hit the pier allegedly due to a defective steering system”.
The vessel left Tagbilaran port at 6:30 a.m. and arrived on time in Cebu City port at 8:30 a.m.
A witness, Alan Gabales, who works as a checker for Cokaliong Shipping Lines said, he noticed that the fast craft stopped its engine a few meters before it could dock in its berthing space.
He said he hear a loud thud.
The vessel hit a berthing space for a roll-on-roll-off vessel of Cokaliong Lines . The site is around 50 meters from the berthing space for SuperCat fast crafts.
Gabales said he saw at least three crewmen jump towards the port.
A porter who asked not to be named said he also noticed the fast craft stop a few meters from its berthing space and then swerve fast to the Cokaliong berthing space.
The Cebu Coast Guard station commander said the vessel had 119 people on board. The skipper, Captain Florito Teves, has to submit a marine protest to the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) within 24 hours from the accident.
Marina-7 already issued a notice of suspension of MV St. Sealtiel’s passenger ship safety certificate as a result of the accident pending investigation.
Lawyer Jose Cabatingan, Marina-7 information officer, said the fast craft cannot resume operations until the damage is repaired and the vessel’s seaworthiness is determined after reinspection.
The order is limited to this vessel. He said the crew members of Sealtiel may be assigned to other vessels of the company.
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