It was a busy week for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), as it safely rescued more than 650 passengers in three separate ferry incidents, the agency reported.
In the most serious accident, personnel from Coast Guard Substation Lucap in Alaminos City, Pangasinan responded to a fire aboard a motor banca on the morning of April 16, rescuing 14 passengers and the boat’s operator.
In the PCG incident report, personnel at CGSS Lucap sighted the distressed vessel approximately 500 meters offshore and deployed a rescue boat, safely removing all on board.
The banca, which was a total loss, reportedly caught fire when a gasoline container placed next to its engine exploded.
The passengers and operator, all residents of Mabalacat, Pampanga, were taken to Dagupan Doctors Villaflor Memorial Hospital in Dagupan City for treatment of minor injuries.
Also on Sunday, personnel from Coast Guard Station Ozamis rescued 619 passengers aboard the roll-on roll-off ferry M/V Trans Asia 2, after the vessel encountered engine trouble off Polo Point in Misamis Occidental.
CGS Ozamis launched a rescue boat and were assisted by the passenger barge M/V Royal Seal of Daima Shipping Lines to transfer the passengers off the stricken ferry.
The M/V Trans Asia 2 was en route from Ozamis to Cebu when ropes accidentally entangled the tail shaft of the engine, causing it to shut down.
The passengers were returned to Ozamis where some waited for the ship to be repaired while others arranged for other transport to Cebu, the report from CGS Ozamis said.
And finally, 27 passengers had to be assisted by Coast Guard personnel at Boracay, after two motor bancas collided at the Cagban Jetty Port Monday night.
According to the report filed by Coast Guard Substation Boracay, the M/V Boracay Express 3 with 69 passengers and 12 crew was departing the port, and collided with an arriving motor banca with 27 people on board when it tried to maneuver around the anchor line of another vessel.
The M/V Boracay Express 3 was not seriously damaged and was able to continue its voyage to Caticaln, while the other motor banca suffered damage to its forward section and had to be assisted to the pier.
No injuries were reported in the incident, and both vessels were advised to file a Marine Protest, the Coast Guard said.