The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Sunday morning that search-and-rescue operations are still being conducted for 19 passengers of the roll-on/roll-off (RORO) vessel M/V Maharlika-2 which foundered off Panaon Island, Southern Leyte Saturday night.
NDRRMC Administrator Alexander Pama said that one of two responding merchant ships, M/V Lara Venture, rescued 18 persons while another one, M/T St. Martin, saved five others.
On the other hand, the stricken vessel’s sister-ship, the M/V Maharlika-4, managed to pick up 32 survivors, bringing the number of rescued people to 55.
Nineteen others are still missing as of this posting, Pama said.
The ship was carrying 84 persons during the time of the mishap.
Rescue operations are now being conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard.
M/V Maharlika-2 left Lipata Port in Surigao at around 7:30 p.m. and was headed for Liloan Port in Southern Leyte with 58 passengers, 26 crewmen and 13 rolling stocks when it had a “steering casualty” six nautical miles northwest of Binit Point, Panaon Island, Southern Leyte, after being buffeted by strong winds and waves brought about by tropical storm “Luis.”
Passengers and crew abandoned the foundered ship at around 9:20 p.m.
The ship was operated by Archipelago Ferries Corporation and commanded by Capt. Juan B. Cayago. PNA