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45 passengers, crew rescued as ship catches fire off Binongkalan Point

45 passengers, crew rescued as ship catches fire off Binongkalan Point
Noreen Jazul July 24, 2020

A total of 41 passengers and four crew members of a passenger ship that caught fire while sailing in the waters off Binongkalan Point, Cebu Thursday evening were rescued by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

In an incident report released Friday, the PCG said MV Filipinas Dinagat which was bound for Palompon, Leyte caught fire at around 10:45 p.m. or just hours after leaving Pier 1 in Cebu City at around 7:00 pm.

The passenger ship was at the vicinity waters 5.5 nautical miles east off Binongkalan Point, Cebu when it was engulfed by flames, according to the report.

The PCG said all 41 passengers of the ship were already rescued and brought to Danao Port for medical assistance.

The ship’s captain, Joel Villanueva, and three ship crew C/M Bonifacio Despi, 2/E Marclein Estrobo, and Winifredo Ceballos, were already rescued as well but remained in the vicinity waters aboard a PCG rescue vessel “to attend to the ill-fated ship.”

“Two tugboats were sent to the incident area to provide towing assistance,” the report said.

Cokaliong Shipping Lines, which owns the MV Filipinas Dinagat, also reported that all passengers and ship crew aboard the engulfed ship were “all safe and accounted for” hence, the declaration of a “zero-casualty” maritime incident.

As of 7:30 am Friday, the PCG said the ship remains on fire. Investigation is ongoing.

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