45 crew members rescued as ship catches fire off Binongkalan Point

Published July 24, 2020, 10:39 AM

by Noreen Jazul

A total of 45 crew members of a passenger ship that caught fire while sailing in the waters off Binongkalan Point, Cebu Thursday evening were rescued by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

(PCG / MANILA BULLETIN)

The PCG said all crew members of the ship were already rescued and brought to Danao Port for medical assistance.

The ship’s captain, Joel Villanueva, and three ship crew C/M Bonifacio Despi, 2/E Marclein Estrobo, and Winifredo Ceballos, however remained in the vicinity waters aboard a PCG rescue vessel “to attend to the ill-fated ship.”

In an incident report released Friday, the PCG said MV Filipinas Dinagat which was bound for Palompon, Leyte caught fire at around 10:45 p.m. or just hours after leaving Pier 1 in Cebu City at around 7:00 pm.

The passenger ship was at the vicinity waters 5.5 nautical miles east off Binongkalan Point, Cebu when it was engulfed by flames, according to the report.

The PCG said all 41 passengers of the ship were already rescued and brought to Danao Port for medical assistance.

The ship’s captain, Joel Villanueva, and three ship crew C/M Bonifacio Despi, 2/E Marclein Estrobo, and Winifredo Ceballos, were already rescued as well but remained in the vicinity waters aboard a PCG rescue vessel “to attend to the ill-fated ship.”

“Two tugboats were sent to the incident area to provide towing assistance,” the report said.

Cokaliong Shipping Lines, which owns the MV Filipinas Dinagat, also reported that all passengers and ship crew aboard the engulfed ship were “all safe and accounted for” hence, the declaration of a “zero-casualty” maritime incident. 

As of Friday afternoon, Commodore Armand Balilo, Coast Guard spokesman said the ship remains on fire, “but (the fire) was already under control while being towed to Sogod, Cebu.”

According to Villanueva, the fire was due to electrical failure, however, Balilo said they are still verifying the real cause.

There is also no report of oil spill due to the fire, Balilo said. (With a report from Betheena Unite)

 
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