(2nd UPDATE from “3 hurt as ferry with 544 passengers catches fire in Ormoc”)
ORMOC City, Leyte: A passenger sea vessel, M/V Wonderful Stars, owned by the Roble Shipping Lines caught fire minutes after docking at the Ormoc Port on Saturday morning.
Ormoc Coast Guard Station Cmdr. Giovanni Bergantin said in a telephone interview that the ship with 544 passengers listed in the manifest left Cebu Port past 10 in the evening on Friday and arrived in Ormoc about 3:45 on Saturday.
Bergantin said they are still waiting for the marine protest of the ship that would be filed by Capt. Rodolfo Saavedra.
He said there was no reported injury among the passengers. The ship’s crew and local fire department personnel worked together trying to put out the fire. As of press time, smoke is still billowing from the ship.
Saavedra declined to answer queries from reporters covering the event, saying he is still trying to save the ship.
Fire trucks coming from Baybay City, and the towns of Kananga and Albuera were deployed to assist the Ormoc firefighters.
When the fire nearly burned two fire trucks that responded to the blaze, two firemen jumped into the sea to save themselves. Coast Guard personnel on sea borne patrol brought them back to land.
A crewmember from the ill-fated ship disclosed that about 15 to 18 vehicles are at the cargo hold of the ship, among them are the wing vans of the owner Jojo Roble.