Coast Guard to promote officer for rescuing passengers, crew of sinking ship in Cebu

Published November 12, 2019, 12:28 PM

by Dr. Eduardo Gonzales

By Betheena Kae Unite 

After single-handedly rescuing the more than 50 passengers and crew of a sinking ship in Cebu, Petty Officer Third Class (PO3) Ralph Barajan will be promoted by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for his heroics.

Seaman First Class (SB1) Ralph Barajan had this in mind when he single-handedly saved 53 passengers from a sinking fast craft last Thursday some five nautical miles off the shore of Sibonga town in Southern Cebu. (Juan Carlo de Vela / MANILA BULLETIN)
Petty Officer Third Class (PO3) Ralph Barajan  (Juan Carlo de Vela / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Vice Admiral Joel Garcia, Coast Guard Commandant, said Tuesday that he will promote Barajan who rescued all passengers and crew members of the MV Siargao Princess after it capsized off Sibonga, Cebu Thursday due to strong waves.

“PO3 Barajan will be promoted to Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) and will be eligible for commissionship to become a Coast Guard officer as a recognition for his exemplary attitude and courageous act to ensure the safety of lives despite being off-duty when the maritime incident occurred,” Garcia said.

Barajan narrated that he was onboard MV Siargao Princess to return to Coast Guard substation in Southern Cebu when he noticed that the vessel was already struggling when it took a hit from strong waves some five nautical miles away from its destination in Sibonga, Cebu.

During a press briefing, he narrated that he had to calm all passengers who were already panicking when the ship started to take in water. They managed to safely abandon the ship with him being the last one to jump off the sinking ship.

“Immediately, he coordinated with the ship captain, then took the initiative to gather the ship passengers and crew. After securing life jackets for children, PO3 Barajan accounted everyone and initiated the group to jump off the sinking vessel,” Garcia said.

He also attributed his training at the PCG, which prepared him to save people’s lives during distress times.

With his heroics, Garcia believed that Barajan has genuinely lived up PCG’s core values of professionalism, commitment, and gallantry.

The commandant also challenged all Coast Guard personnel to do the same and perform the duties and responsibilities of the organization at all times and at all costs in service to the nation.