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287 passengers, crew rescued as vessel runs aground in Cebu

287 passengers, crew rescued as vessel runs aground in Cebu
John Rey Saavedra October 23, 2023

RESCUE AT SEA. The MV Filipinas Butuan (left) ran aground off the shore of Madridejos in Bantayan Island, Cebu on Monday morning (Oct. 23, 2023). All the 250 passengers and 37 crew members were safely carried to the shore of the town after being stranded for a few hours. (Photo courtesy of PCGA-7)
CEBU CITY – Some 287 people were rescued on Monday after a Roll-on, Roll-off (Ro-Ro) vessel ran aground off the shores of Madridejos, a town on the northern Bantayan Island in Cebu at dawn.

In an advisory, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)-Central Visayas said the MV Filipinas Butuan left the pier in Cebu City past 7 p.m. on Sunday and was expected to arrive in Iloilo City at around 8 a.m. Monday.

However, the vessel that is owned and operated by Cokaliong Shipping Lines based in this capital city, hit the shallow part of the water near the shores of Kaongkod, a coastal village of Madridejos.

“The vessel was avoiding a fish cage, causing it to drift at the shallow waters and eventually run aground,” the PCG said.

Coast Guard personnel in Madridejos, Bantayan and Santa Fe, along with the Bantay Dagat wardens, conducted rescue operations for the stranded passengers.

Commander Mark Larsen Mariano, deputy chief of PCG-7 (Central Visayas), said three motorboats and Bantay Dagat service boats were used in the transfer of passengers and crew from the vessel to the shore.

He said all the 250 passengers, including two infants and six children, as well as 37 crew members, were safely transferred.

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) in Central Visayas, however, suspended the operation of MV Filipinas Butuan.

In a letter to Chester Cokaliong, president of Cokaliong Shipping Lines, MARINA-7 regional director Emmanuel Carpio said the vessel’s operation “may be restored/reinstated after a satisfactory result of MARINA survey/inspection and/or evaluation of all available data surrounding the incident.” (PNA)