Ill-fated vessel sinks deeper at Lauis Ledge
NEARLY three years after it sank, what remained of MV St. Thomas Aquinas of 2GO Shipping Lines has yet to be recovered from the Lauis Ledge in the waters off Talisay City.
“So far, dili kagawas ang mga containers didto sa sulod (the containers inside have yet to be released from the ship’s compartment),” said Philippine Coast Guard-Cebu station commander Agapito Bibat.
Coast Guard personnel and technical divers have examined the vessel since Monday.
The divers were the same people who first responded to the sinking of MV St. Thomas Aquinas.
Bibat said the divers used a Global Positioning System (GPS) and a compass to locate and check the positioning of the sunken ship, which changed from its tilted starboard position to a port side position.
Jaime Lapac, one of the divers and a member of Filipino Cave Divers, said the ship is now positioned at a depth of about 50 meters.
“There are now corals and fishes inside. The color (white) of the boat has faded and it looks like a rock now,” Lapac said.
The dive started at 9 a.m and ended at 4 p.m. yesterday. They entered the cargo area and they will try to enter the restaurant today.
Lapac said their previous dives were riskier due to floating debris.
MV St. Thomas Aquinas collided with Sulpicio Express 7, a cargo ship owned by Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. (formerly Sulpicio Lines) at Lauis Ledge on Aug. 18, 2013.
Seventy two of the 870 passengers died. The ill-fated ship was headed to Cebu City from Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.
Rear Admiral William Melad, Philippine Coast Guard-Cebu deputy commandant, said 2GO Shipping Lines was tp;d to salvage the vessel but it said that doing so might result to the closure of the Mactan Channel.
Melad said they could compel the shipping company to remove the sunken ship if it poses danger to navigation.
He said buoys and markers were placedat the southern portion of the Mactan Channel to guide the vessels.
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