Passenger ship from CdO en route to Cebu tilts due to alleged ballast tank failure
CEBU CITY, Philippines – (UPDATED, 10:20 a.m.) A passenger ship carrying close to 500 individuals failed to proceed to its scheduled trip to Cebu when it suffered listing problems shortly after departing the port of Cagayan de Oro City on Sunday, November 12, 2023.
The Philippine Coast Guard in Central Visayas (PCG-7) confirmed receiving reports of a distressed vessel in the Port of Cagayan de Oro City.
M/V Filipinas Cagayan of Cokaliong Shipping Corp. departed Cagayan de Oro City around 7:20 p.m. But two hours later, it began listing to its port side (left side of the ship). Listing is a nautical term to describe when a vessel tilts to one side.
As a result, the vessel had to sail back to the port, said Coast Guard Commander Mark Larsen Mariano, information officer of PCG-7.
Cause of listing
Mariano, in a message sent to reporters, said initial investigation showed that a problem with the ballast tanks led the ship to tilt to one side. Ballast tanks are tanks used in balancing the ship.
Fortunately, 454 passengers and crew were safe after the vessel returned to the Port of Cagayan De Oro City late Sunday evening.
The ship was also carrying four vehicles and seven motorcycles on board.
One of the passengers on board M/V Filipinas Cagayan was Steffany Buron, who told lawyer Ruphil Bañoc in his Straight to the Point program for dyHP that the incident ‘traumatized’ them.
“Nikalit ra man to (og takilid)… Grabe gyud tawon. Puerteng ka lisang gyud,” said Buron. (It suddenly tilted. It really was really scary.)
She described how the passengers noticed that the floor on the ship slowly started to tilt towards the left.
A few minutes later, the captain instructed passengers to go to the right side of the ship, ultimately confirming that the ship began to lose its balance.
“Miingon ang kapitan nga adto lang mo’s right side, unya kalma lang. Di mag panic,” said Buron. (The captain told passengers to go to the right side, and to keep calm and not panic.)
Then the crew started handing out lifejackets to the passengers, some of whom fainted due to the incident, she added.
M/V Filipinas Cagayan was supposed to dock at the Port of Cebu around 3 and 4 a.m. on Monday.
In the meantime, PCG-7 will be coordinating with the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to check the seaworthiness of the vessel, said Mariano.
M/V Filipinas Cagayan is the third passenger vessel of Cokaliong Shipping that encountered problems this year.
Last April, the shipping company’s M/V Filipinas Cebu ran aground off the coasts of Lanao del Norte.
In October, 20 crew members were hospitalized after being exposed to sulfuric acid.
A few days later, another ship, M/V Filipinas Butuan, ran aground off Madridejos town on Bantayan Island.
CDN Digital has reached out to Cokaliong Shipping but has not received any reply as of this posting.
Stay tuned for updates.
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